As the sun sets on another Pure Michigan summer, back-to-school season is in full swing. When stocking up on all the essentials for a successful school year, don’t leave vaccines off the list.

Just in time for back-to-school, August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). NIAM is an annual observance to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.

THE ULTIMATE BACK-TO-SCHOOL ESSENTIAL

Getting vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health — whether that child is a toddler entering preschool or a freshman in college.

While vaccines are often something thought of for babies and young children, preteens and teens also need vaccines to stay healthy throughout the school year. Getting vaccinated is a life-long, life-protecting job!

NOT JUST FOR BABIES

Due to Michigan’s vaccination requirements, most children have already gotten the majority of their vaccinations by the time they begin school. As kids get older, they are still at risk for certain diseases. Schools, child care centers and colleges are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. Vaccinations protect preteens and teens against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases that can be easily spread.

Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect them against serious diseases:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and blood infections (septicemia).
  • HPV (human papilloma virus) to protect against cancers caused by HPV.
  • Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis).
  • A yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu

These diseases are very real and are still very much alive in Michigan. According to Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR) data from December 2017, only 38 percent of Michigan teens aged 13 to 17 years are up to date on their recommended vaccinations.

While choosing to vaccinate your preteen and teen is a personal decision, your decision affects the health of all the children in your community — not just your own. The vaccinated community helps to protect those who are unable to protect those who are not vaccinated — whether because of medical or religious reasons — a concept known as ‘community immunity.’

SHARE YOUR STORY

How can you help spread the word about protecting Michigan children from vaccine preventable-diseases? Here are two quick ways:

  1. Update your Facebook profile picture! Show your pride by using the I Vaccinate filter on your profile photo to let your friends and family know why you choose to vaccinate your child. You can find the Facebook profile picture frame by visiting our Facebook page and looking for the post below, pinned to the top of the news feed.

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 #NIAM18 when you share why you choose to vaccinate to join the national conversation about protecting your child from vaccine-preventable diseases.

#IVaccinate because ______________ #NIAM18

  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.