National and local health organizations are promoting vaccinations this month as part of a campaign to raise public awareness and highlight the need for improved immunization coverage across the country.
Supporters say that National Immunization Awareness Month is a good time to catch up on your shots and check that you and your family are up to date. For more information on vaccines, visit the Contra Costa Health Services website.
Here are some important vaccines for children and adults, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• Children under age 6 get a series of shots to protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, and hepatitis.
Pre-teens and teens:
• Pre-teens need shots at age 11 or 12 to help protect them from tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, and HPV (human papillomavirus).
• Teens need a booster shot at age 16 to help protect them from meningitis.
• All adults need a booster shot every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria.
• Adults who are not already immune to the chickenpox virus need two doses of Varivax, given at least 4 weeks apart.
• People age 65 or older need a one-time pneumonia shot
Contra Costa County residents:
• California is experiencing an increase in the number of cases of Pertussis, also known as "whooping cough." All students entering 7th grade will need proof of receiving Tdap, the pertussis booster shot.
• The county also encourages whooping cough vaccinations for parents, caregivers, siblings and healthcare workers.
How do you and your family stay up to date with your shots? What do you think could be done to increase immunization awareness and access? Share your thoughts in the comments.