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As students gear up to return to school, health officials urge the public to prioritize routine vaccinations. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, an opportune time to remind individuals of the importance of staying up-to-date on their vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that thousands of American adults fall ill yearly due to diseases that vaccinations could have prevented. The disruptions caused by missed appointments and delayed healthcare during the pandemic have led to more people not being caught up on their routine vaccine schedules for diseases such as measles, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, and tetanus.

In response to this concerning trend, the CDC has launched the “Let’s RISE” initiative to help promote the education about vaccine-preventable diseases and disabilities.

While some vaccines require yearly administration, like the flu vaccine, others, such as the chickenpox vaccine, are administered only once in a lifetime. Other childhood vaccines, like Tdap, MMR or Hepatitis B can wear off over time, and may require booster doses to maintain their effectiveness over time.

Adults may also be at risk for vaccine-preventable disease due to age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions. The CDC recommends that everyone be up to date on these routine vaccines:
• COVID-19 vaccine
• Flu vaccine (influenza)
• Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough)

Some adults might need other vaccinations based on age, life events, job, travel, or health conditions. Some examples include:
• Chickenpox vaccine (varicella)
• COVID-19 vaccine
• Flu vaccine (influenza)
• Hepatitis B vaccine
• HPV vaccine (human papillomavirus)
• MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella)
• Tdap vaccine (Tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough) or Td (tetanus, diphtheria)
• Shingles vaccine

National Immunization Awareness Month serves as an important reminder to everyone to prioritize vaccinations, safeguard individual health, and contribute to a community’s well-being.