August Is Immunization Awareness Month

This is the time of year when many children enroll in school or leave the home for college. And with those enrollments come vaccinations, in many cases. The next few months will see doctors' offices stocking up on flu shots in anticipation for the winter season. The National Institutes of Health recommend inoculations against diseases that killed children and others with regularity before vaccines were designed. For example, diphtheria infected more than 175,000 people on average each year before the vaccine was created. In 2008, no one contracted the disease. And when large numbers of people in a given community gain immunity, the rest of the community is less likely to get the disease. However, with fewer people opting for vaccines, these once-obsolete diseases could make a resurgence. A child may receive up to 20 injections before age 2, and by the preteen years, he will be protected from 16 diseases if he follows the American Academy of Pediatrics vaccine schedule. Concern over side effects of vaccines, such as SIDS and autism in past years, has put kids at risk of contracting many diseases.