August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Immunization is a key component of early childhood development and health. Remember – early childhood and school readiness begin with good health! It is important for early childhood education staff to make immunization a priority. Foster an environment of health with:
• Immunization tracking
• Staff education and adult vaccination as needed
• Parent education
Early childhood education (ECE) programs are prone to disease outbreaks. Recent outbreaks of measles, flu and pertussis (whooping cough) have occurred in ECE settings.

Unvaccinated children are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others. Babies are at high risk since they are too young to be fully vaccinated. Un-and-under vaccinated people are a threat to children and adults who might not be able to receive certain vaccines because they have cancer or other health conditions. Children who are not up-to-date with vaccines recommended for their age may be excluded from child care and schools if an outbreak occurs.
Some reputable immunization websites to educate staff and parents include:
1. American Academy of Pediatrics - Healthy Children https://www.healthychildren.org
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
o Easy-to-read immunization schedules (in English and Spanish) https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html
o Vaccine information for parents www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/resources
o Infant Immunization - Frequently Asked Questions www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/parent-questions.html
3. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center
4. Vaccinate Your Family http://vaccinateyourfamily.org/
5. Flu Vaccine Materials for Early Education/Child Care Staff and Schools https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/freeresources/print/print-schools-childcare.htm