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August 8, 2014

Re:    August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Dear Mayor:

The New Jersey Department of Health wants to remind you that August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a good time for New Jerseyans of all ages to protect themselves and their communities by getting up-to-date on their vaccinations. This annual observance highlights the importance of immunizations across the lifespan.

Each week of National Immunization Awareness Month focuses on promoting vaccination of different age groups. You can access these “Toolkits” and other useful information at http://www.nphic.org/niam-toolkit.

Childhood vaccines protect against 14 serious diseases by the age of two. According to the 2012 National Immunization Survey (NIS), nearly 75 percent of New Jersey children ages 19 - 35 months received the recommended vaccine doses compared to the national average of approximately 72 percent. These vaccines provide protection against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps and rubella, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), hepatitis B, and chickenpox. It is also recommended that children get vaccinated against rotavirus, hepatitis A and pneumococcal disease and everyone six months of age and older can get annual flu shots.

Children who are 11 to 12 years of age should receive the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccine, meningococcal conjugate vaccine, and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Immunizations are not just for kids. Every adult should get the Tdap vaccine once. Women should receive the vaccine each time they are pregnant to protect their babies against whooping cough. Adults should receive a Td booster shot every 10 years.  Tdap may be given as one of these boosters if the individual has not already gotten a dose.

In recognition of National Immunization Awareness Month, the New Jersey Department of Health encourages health professionals to organize and participate in activities that promote the importance of immunizations. The National Public Health Information Coalition, in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed a toolkit that is available online at www.nphic.org/niam.

For information about New Jersey's immunization requirements for child care, preschool, school, and college please visit http://nj.gov/health/cd/imm.shtml.

Information about vaccines, recommended immunization schedules for all age groups and the Vaccines for Children Program (a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children of low-income families) can be found at the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/vaccines.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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