Thanks to vaccines, we can protect young infants against whooping cough by making sure everyone is up to date with their vaccines. Pregnant women can pass on protection to their newborns by getting vaccinated during their third trimester every pregnancy. Family members and caregivers can strengthen that protection by getting up-to-date on the whooping cough vaccine, which helps prevent the spread of this life-threatening disease to infants and their mothers.
Whooping cough is just one of several vaccine-preventable diseases that threaten Americans. Outbreaks continue to occur, and many vaccine-preventable diseases remain common. Consider pneumococcal disease, which affects nearly 4 million Americans each year and can cause pneumonia or infections of the ears, blood and brain. Or that 1 in 3 Americans each year will develop shingles, which can lead to debilitating pain that lasts for weeks, months and, in rare cases, years.
Vaccines are safe, effective and the best protection against these diseases—from infancy to early adulthood and into old age. By getting vaccinated, we not only protect ourselves, we help stop the spread of disease to our children, families and communities. But, for vaccines to be most effective, vaccination rates must remain high.
We must be persistent in raising awareness about immunizations and encouraging timely vaccination. Every August is dedicated to National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). NIAM is an annual observance designed to highlight the importance of immunizations. Each week of the month underscores the benefits of vaccination for people of all ages—including infants, children, teens, pregnant women and adults.