To celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life, Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department is joining with partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.
“Getting children all of the shots recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health,” explains Melissa Propp, RN, SWNPHD Public Health Nurse.
“If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to find out what shots your child needs. This is critical in protecting classmates, their younger siblings and the community,” she said.
Most schools require children to be current on vaccinations before enrolling to protect the health of all students. Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases including polio, measles and whooping cough.
When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased chance of getting diseases and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community. Babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems, due to cancer or other health conditions, are at the greatest risk.
Here are some immunization guidlines:
• Children who are 4 to 6 years old are due for boosters of: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and polio.
• Older children, like preteens and teens, need Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), Meningo (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines when they are 11 to 12.
• Every year, early flu vaccines are recommended for all children six months and older.
Parents can find out more about the recommended immunization schedule at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html, contact SWNPHD at 308-345-4223 or email
SWNPHD also provides adult immunizations, such as shingles, whooping cough, tetanus and flu shots, and can bill Medicare and numerous insurance companies.
Immunizations are one of the most effective and cost efficient ways to prevent disease, Propp said. For every dollar spent on immunizations, it saves as much as $29 in direct and indirect health costs.