National Immunization Awareness Month (August)
Staying up-to-date with immunizations provides the best protection against disease and is essential to health. Getting vaccinations on time is still important during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial that everyone—children, staff and parents—receive their regularly scheduled vaccines.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and guardians should schedule immunization appointments early. Some health care providers may have delays in scheduling and decreased appointment windows. Health care providers are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of patients, families, and staff. Call your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about a scheduled well-child visit or immunizations in general. The Pennsylvania Departments of Education, Health, Human Services, and Insurance remind parents to ensure their children’s immunizations are up to date as part of back-to-school preparations.
Early Childhood Education staff should make immunization a priority. Foster an environment of health with:
- Immunization tracking
- Staff education and adult vaccination as needed
- Parent education
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 due to 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.
For more information to educate staff and parents, visit the following websites:
- American Academy of Pediatrics - Healthy Children.org Immunization page: https://www.healthychildren.org/english/safety-prevention/immunizations/pages/default.aspx
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Easy-to-read immunization schedules (in English and Spanish): https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html
- Vaccine information for parents: cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/resources
- Infant Immunization - Frequently Asked Questions: cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/parent-questions.html
- Flu Vaccine Materials for Parents and Families: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/freeresources/print/print-family.htm
- COVID-19 Vaccination resources: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/adolescents.html
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center: http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center
- Vaccinate Your Family: http://vaccinateyourfamily.org/
- The Pennsylvania Department of Health's Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program provides vaccines to children who do not have health insurance: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/programs/immunizations/Pages/VFC-Overview.aspx
PA Partnerships for Children Fact Sheet - Pediatric Visits and Childhood Immunizations: Getting PA Kids Back in School and Back on Schedule (August 2021): https://www.papartnerships.org/report/fact-sheet-pediatric-visits-and-childhood-immunizations-getting-pa-kids-back-in-school-and-back-on-schedule-august-2021/