Sussex County: August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)

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Is your child ready to start school? Send Your Children Back to School Protected from Serious Diseases! Immunizations represent one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the 20th century.

The purpose of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is to celebrate the benefits of vaccination and highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.

The Office of Public Health Nursing is joining with partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. NIAM is a reminder that we all need vaccines throughout our lives. Back-to-school season is here. It's time for parents to gather school supplies and back packs. It's also the perfect time to make sure your children are up to date on their vaccines. This event celebrates the importance of immunizations for people of all ages and make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need as they go back to school.

Public health nurses will be providing immunizations at two department clinics. Michele Verones, RN, BSN, will be vaccinating children at the Well Child Clinic on August 15, 2017. This clinic is for uninsured children ages 2 months though five years old. Public Health Nurses will be vaccinating school age children at the Health Check clinic on August 23, 2017. Both clinics provide vaccines through the Vaccine for Children (VFC) program, at no cost to eligible children. Appointments are required.

"Getting children, all of the vaccines recommended by CDC's immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children from serious diseases," said Ellen Phelps, RN, MSN, Director of the Office of Public Health Nursing. "If you haven't done so already, now is the time to check with your child's doctor or nurse to find out what vaccines your child needs." Don't wait until the first day of school to find out your child needs shots. Your child could be excluded from school until those shots are given.

Vaccines protect against a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for diseases and can also spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community; including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.

Talk to your child's doctor to find out which vaccines are recommended for them before going back to school. Additionally, New Jersey requires children who are entering child care, Kindergarten, and 11-year-old children entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated against certain diseases. Colleges and universities may have their own requirements, especially for students living in a dormitory. Parents should check with their child's doctor, nurse, school, or the Office of Public Health Nursing to learn about the immunization requirements in New Jersey.

The Sussex County Division of Health, Office of Public Health Nursing is located at 201 Wheatsworth Road, Hamburg, NJ 07419. The office can be reached at 973-579-0570 x 1211, or visit www.sussex.nj.us/health. Parents can also find out more about the recommended vaccines at www.cdc.gov/vaccines arrow icon.

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