National Immunization Awareness Month 2017

National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is observed annually in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for everyone across the lifespan, including pregnant women. Ob-gyns are a key source of information for women on the topic of vaccines and the vital role they play in living healthy lives.

As healthcare professionals, it is important to communicate openly and positively about vaccines, especially throughout this month. As a trusted resource for consumers, clinicians must be ready to answer questions about vaccines and the diseases they protect against from patients. CDC offers a variety of resources to support you and your staff in providing effective vaccination recommendations and educating your patients about vaccines.   

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 @acognews (twitter) and ACOG National (Facebook) for immunization posts and share with #NIAM17

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

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

In addition, please visit our Upcoming Events webpage to participate in immunization webinars taking place during NIAM. 

July 31-August 6: 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) before their second birthday.
  • 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 vaccine-preventable disease, nor can you predict or know how severe the illness will be or become.
  • Vaccines don’t just protect your child. 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 7-13: 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 child from preventable diseases, such as rubella.
  • If you need live vaccines, you need to get them at least one month before pregnancy. 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.

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. It is safe for a pregnant woman to get a flu shot (i.e., made with killed flu virus).
  • Significant flu season activity may begin as early as October and last as late as May. You should get a flu shot by the end of October, if possible.


  • 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 for the best whooping cough protection to be passed on to the baby before birth.
  • This vaccine is important to help protect young babies from whooping cough until they are able to receive their own vaccines at 2 months old.

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

August 14-20: 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.

  • Each year, an average of 226,000 people are hospitalized due to influenza and between 3,000 and 49,000 people die of influenza and its complications, the majority of which are adults.
  • About 900,000 people get pneumococcal pneumonia every year, leading to as many as 400,000 hospitalizations and 19,000 deaths.
  • 850,000 to 2.2 million people suffer from chronic hepatitis B, with complications such as liver cancer.
  • In the U.S., HPV causes about 17,000 cancers in women and about 9,000 cancers in men each year. About 4,000 women die each year from cervical cancer.
  • Of the approximately one million cases of shingles that occur annually, up to 9% will involve the eye.

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 & VaccinesImmunization Resources tool kit 

August 21-27: Pre-teens & Teens- Ensure a healthy future with vaccines

Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives to protect against serious diseases. Following the recommended schedule offers safe and effective protection.

  • Some of the childhood vaccines wear off over time, so preteens and teens need shots to help stay protected from serious diseases like tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).
  • As children get older, they are more likely to get certain diseases like meningococcal disease and infections that can lead to HPV cancers. Preteens can be protected long before their risk of infection increases by getting recommended vaccines.
  • Children and teens need an annual flu vaccine because protection from vaccination decreases over time; flu vaccines are made each year to keep up with changing flu viruses.

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).
  • Preteens need the HPV vaccine now to prevent HPV cancers later in life.
  • For teens who have not started the series at 11 or 12 years, it’s not too late. It is still beneficial to get the vaccine as soon as possible during the teen years.

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 Toolkit, HPV FAQs, HPV Recommendations and Safety, HPV Webinar



Updated 8/1/17


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