Immunization Awareness Month

July 27, 2022 | by BMI Staff

August is Immunization Awareness Month, which exists to spread awareness about preventable diseases and the importance of keeping up on all vaccines. In this article, you’ll find helpful definitions, a brief history of immunizations, and helpful tips for keeping you and your loved ones protected against completely preventable diseases.

What is a vaccine?

A vaccine is a medication that uses a deactivated version of a viral or bacterial disease in order to fight against it. While the medication only lasts inside of a body temporarily, it teaches the body to fight off the live version of that disease for years to come. Once administered, it triggers a response from the body’s immune system to produce natural antibodies so that it is equipped with the necessary tools to fight off that particular illness. 

What is the history of vaccines?

Vaccines first came to be during the smallpox epidemic. In order to protect the masses from the spread of this deadly disease, a mild dose of the disease was administered to build up the population’s immunity to it. Due to the success of this practice, the World Health Organization (WHO) was able to declare that smallpox was eradicated in 1980. This means that nobody else would contract the disease again and the world was safe from it, thanks to the invention of vaccinations.

After smallpox was successfully eradicated, this led to the development of vaccines for other rapidly spreading and deadly diseases, such as Diphtheria and Polio. Vaccines are still recognized by the medical community as the most effective way to stop the spread of infectious diseases, and they save the most lives worldwide.

What are some vaccines that I may need?

While this is not an exhaustive list, there are a few vaccines that are required even in adulthood to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm. Here is a short list of some common and practical vaccines that should be kept up-to-date:

  • Flu Vaccine: It is recommended to renew this vaccine once every year. While many vaccines remain valid for several years before needing to be renewed, the flu is always mutating into new and intelligent variants that can breach our immune systems if we are not properly immunized. Just as an athlete becomes stronger to beat his opponent on the playing field, viruses are constantly doing the same thing. Maintaining immunization against the flu is especially important for pregnant individuals, as well as the people around them. Catching the flu while pregnant can pose risks to a fetus’s organ development and even prompt premature labor. Additionally, everyone who makes contact with a newborn should be up-to-date on their flu shot in order to protect the infant’s developing immune systems.
  • Tdap Vaccine: The Tdap vaccine, also known as the whooping cough vaccine, is recommended for all individuals to receive every 10 years. If you or someone you know is expecting a baby, this vaccine is especially important, as the contraction of whooping cough in a newborn can be deadly. 
  • COVID-19 Vaccine: The 2020 pandemic is still plaguing the world today, and the best way to safeguard ourselves against this new and deadly virus is to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Doing so is not only helpful for the individual receiving their immunization, but it is also helpful for protecting population groups who are ineligible to receive the vaccine against contracting the disease. 

We hope that you found these tips to be informative and helpful to your immunization journey, and remember that the only way to eradicate a disease such as smallpox and COVID-19 is for the vast majority of the population to immunize themselves against it. Every time you receive a vaccine of any kind, it is probable that you are protecting countless lives around you that are either too young or too immunocompromised to immunize themselves. 

To find more detailed information regarding the vaccinations you need at various stages of your life, please reference this guide put forth by the CDC