As summer starts to wind down and back-to-school commercials take over TV channels, there’s another important message parents should tune-in for: National Immunization Awareness Month.

August marks the annual observance of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) to underscore the essential role vaccines play in keeping us healthy – especially our little tykes.

Here at I Vaccinate, we like to think every month is NIAM because we know how important it is for Michigan parents to have credible information on vaccines. Our goal is to be that one-stop shop where parents can find the resources they need to make the decision to vaccinate. That’s why our website offers an extensive searchable FAQ page and a news section to stay informed on developments here in Michigan and across the country.

VACCINATING YOUR BABY

As parents, we weigh the benefits and risks of any decision we make for our kids, including choosing to vaccinate. We love this story from Michigan blogger (and new mommy!) Samantha about going through this process.

“Being a parent is hard. It is likely one of the hardest things I have ever had to do – and felt so ill-equipped to do the minute Rowan was home with us. Once we left the hospital I worried….and worried a lot. It was the fall season, also known as “flu season”…I had already been seeing Facebook posts about friends battling the flu, colds, stomach bugs and the like…and it terrified me. I wanted to wrap Rowan in bubble wrap and never let him go outside.”

    

She is right! Parenting is hard and there are so many steps to protecting your baby from unpredictable harm. But thanks to medical research, you can protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases.

A common concern parents ask about is, “Why do vaccines start so early?” Young children—even newborns—begin vaccinations early in life to protect them from serious and deadly diseases that can infect them at a very young age. The effects of these diseases can be very serious, and even life-threatening, for infants and young children who are not protected by vaccination.

A child receives a vaccine based on decades of medical science that shows when the infant is likely to be most susceptible to the diseases and also when the infant will produce the best immune response to a vaccine.

Before 1985, the recommended immunization schedule included only seven vaccines and covered only seven diseases. The good news is that today, vaccines can protect children and teens from 16 potentially serious diseases.

KEEPING THEM SAFE AS THEY GROW

Where does the time go? Before we know it our little ones don’t seem so little anymore and outgrow all those cute outfits they never got the chance to wear.

But when it comes to vaccines, we can’t let time get away from us. According to Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR) data from December 31, 2016, only 54% of Michigan toddlers are up to date on their vaccinations.

Why is it so important to follow the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for your child?

Following the recommended immunization schedule protects infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets the U.S. childhood immunization schedule based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)—a group of medical and public health experts. This schedule also is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Infants and young children who do not follow the recommended immunization schedules and instead spread out shots—or leave out shots—are at risk of developing diseases during the time that the shots are delayed. This results in more frequent visits to the doctor’s office, more stress and anticipation of shots and increased costs for you.

SHARE YOUR STORY

  1. Update your Facebook profile picture! Show your pride by using the I Vaccinate filter on your profile photo to let your friends, family and neighbors know why you choose to vaccinate your child.

Click here to change your profile photo in support!

      2. Use the #IVaccinate hashtag to share a photo and tell your story on social media! 

        

It’s easy! Just follow these three simple steps:

  1. Fill in the blank! Include the hashtags #IVaccinate and #NIAM2017 when you share why you choose to vaccinate to join the national conversation about protecting your child from vaccine-preventable diseases.

#IVaccinate because ______________ #NIAM2017

  1. Include a fun photo of your child or something else that symbolizes why you vaccinate.
  2. Post your story on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and encourage your friends, family and neighbors to do the same!

By sharing your story, you help spread the word that vaccines are essential to keeping our kids and communities healthy.