National Immunization Awareness Month 2018

National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held each August to emphasize the importance of vaccination for preventing serious diseases throughout all stages of the lifespan, including pregnant women. Obstetricians, gynecologists, and midwives play a critical role in making sure women protect themselves and their newborns through maternal vaccination.

During NIAM this year, CDC is launching an interactive infographic, offering expecting families the opportunity to learn more about the recommended vaccinations from pregnancy through adulthood. This resource teaches families about vaccine-preventable diseases—like flu, rubella, and whooping cough—and highlights key immunization milestones across the lifespan. 

Below are suggested ways for sharing within your practice and with your patients:

  • Include the infographic in an email blast to patients about the importance of immunization
  • Embed the infographic link into your practice webpages and on the home page of your patient portal
  • Share the infographic link by posting through your social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn once a week throughout the month
  • Share with staff in your practice as an educational tool to use when answering patient questions

We are proud to partner with CDC in sharing this helpful resource. 

Additional resources, including communication toolkits and graphics, can be found via the CDC and National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) websites. 

Join CDC and ACOG in promoting activities and tools to assist ob-gyns in their vaccine conversations with women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Utilize the messages below with your patients and be sure to follow @ACOG (Twitter), @ACOG_org (Instagram), and ACOG National (Facebook) for immunization posts and share with #NIAM18

We hope you’ll join us in promoting the importance of immunizations throughout this month, and all year!


August 5-11: Pregnant Women- Protect yourself and pass protection on to your baby

Get off to a healthy start by making sure that your immunizations are up to date before becoming pregnant.

  • Before becoming pregnant, you should be up to date on all routine vaccinations. Vaccines help protect you and your baby from vaccine-preventable diseases, such as rubella.
  • If you need a vaccine that contains weakened live viruses, such as MMR vaccine, then you need to get vaccinated at least one month before becoming pregnant. Vaccines received during pregnancy should be inactivated (the viruses or bacteria in the vaccine are killed rather than weakened).
  • It is very important that you are up to date on your measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before becoming pregnant. Rubella infection during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or birth defects in the developing baby.
  • Many vaccine-preventable diseases that are rarely seen in the United States are still common in other parts of the world. If you are planning international travel, then talk to your health care professional about travel vaccines.

There are two vaccines routinely recommended during pregnancy:  flu (to protect against influenza) and Tdap (to protect against whooping cough). By receiving these vaccines during pregnancy, you can pass antibodies to your baby that may help protect him or her against flu and whooping cough until they are able to get their own vaccines.


  • Pregnant women can get a flu shot at any time during their pregnancy. Flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women over many years with a good safety record.
  • Significant flu activity may begin as early as October and last as late as May in the United States. Pregnant women should get a flu shot by the end of October, if possible.
  • Pregnant women should get a flu shot, which is an inactivated vaccine. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be given to women who are pregnant.


  • Women should get a tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine (Tdap) during each
  • Women should receive the vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy, preferably during the earlier part of this time period.
  • This vaccine is important to help protect young babies from whooping cough until they are able to receive their own vaccine at 2 months old.

 Learn more: Pregnancy, Pregnancy Resources, Flu Tool kit, Tdap Tool kit

August 12-18: Babies and Young Children - A healthy start begins with on-time vaccinations. 

Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2 years old.

  • Vaccinating your children according to the recommended schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from 14 harmful and potentially deadly diseases like measles and whooping cough (pertussis).
  • Children who don’t receive recommended vaccines are at risk of (1) getting the disease or illness and (2) having a severe case of the disease or illness. You can’t predict or know in advance if an unvaccinated child will get a disease, nor can you predict or know how severe the illness will be or become.
  • Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, health care professionals and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community – especially babies who are too young to be vaccinated themselves.

To learn more about childhood vaccines visit AAP's Immunization website and Immunization section on

August 19-25: Pre-teens & Teens- Ensure a healthy future with vaccines

Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives to protect against serious diseases. 

  • The need for vaccination does not end in childhood. As protection from childhood vaccines wears off, adolescents need additional vaccines to extend protection.
  • Adolescents need protection from other infections as well, before the risk of exposure increases.
  • Vaccines offer the best-known protection against many devastating illnesses. Following the recommended immunization schedule is the best way to ensure preteens and teens are protected from deadly diseases.
  • The vaccine schedule is based on the latest scientific information available and provides doctors with information on administration of each vaccine.

HPV vaccine is cancer prevention.

HPV is short for human papillomavirus. There are more than 40 HPV types that infect human mucosal surfaces, mostly the genitals and mouth/throat. Although most infections will go away naturally, some infections that don’t go away can cause cancers in men and women.

  • CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians strongly recommend HPV vaccination at ages 11 to 12 for the best protection against HPV cancers.
  • HPV vaccination protects against the HPV types that cause most cases of cervical cancers and many cases of other cancers, including cancers of the anus, penis, vulva, vagina, and oropharynx (back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils).
  • HPV vaccine is recommended at ages 11 to 12 to protect preteens now from HPV cancers later in life.
  • For teens and young adults who have not started or finished the HPV vaccine series, it’s not too late. Make an appointment to get vaccinated today.

Take advantage of any visit to the doctor - checkups, sick visits, even physicals for sports, camps, or college - to ask the doctor about what vaccines your preteens and teens need.

Learn more: HPV ToolkitHPV FAQsHPV Recommendations and Safety, HPV Webinar

August 26-31: Adults - Vaccines are not just for kids

Every year, tens of thousands of adults in the U.S. needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.

  • CDC estimates that flu has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 2010.
  • About 900,000 people get pneumococcal pneumonia every year, leading to as many as 400,000 hospitalizations and 28,000 deaths.
  • About 10% to 13% of people who get shingles will experience a painful complication called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). People with PHN have severe pain in the areas where they had the shingles rash. This pain can last from weeks to years.
  • 850,000 to 2.2 million people suffer from chronic hepatitis B, with complications such as liver cancer.
  • In the United States, HPV causes about 19,700 cases of cancer in women and about 12,800 cases of cancer in men each year. About 4,000 women die each year from cervical cancer.Adults should talk with their health care professional to learn which vaccines are recommended for them, and take steps to get up to date.

Learn more: Increasing Immunization Rates, Diseases & Vaccines




This website is supported by an independent educational grant from Merck and an educational grant from Sanofi Pasteur U.S. 
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