16 Aug New Resources for National Immunizations Awareness Month (NIAM)
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), a time to raise awareness about the importance of routine vaccination for people of all ages. Vaccinations are one of the most effective ways to prevent infectious diseases, and they are especially important for communities of color, who are disproportionately affected by vaccine-preventable diseases.
The CMS Office of Minority Health Reports that children and adults from communities of color are more likely to miss out on recommended vaccinations. Statistics show that only 15.9% of Black adults and 17.3% of Hispanic adults get their routine immunization compared to 23.7% of their White counterparts. In addition, Black (39.0%), Hispanic (37.5%), and adults who identify as other or multiple races (41.4%) have persistently lower flu vaccine rates compared with White adults (49.3%).
Several factors contribute to health disparities in vaccination rates among communities of color including:
- Lack of access to healthcare
- Language barriers
- Cultural beliefs and practices
- Misinformation about vaccines
These disparities help drive outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps, and rubella. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a new report this month showing that most—and likely all—of 85 measles cases in Central Ohio in fall 2022 were among children who were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated.
During NIAM, it is important to focus on health equity and to ensure that all people, regardless of their race or ethnicity, have access to the vaccinations they need to stay healthy. The following section includes links to new resources that can help communities of color get the information and support they need to get vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a number of resources on its website, including information about vaccine-preventable diseases, the benefits of vaccination, and how to find a vaccination clinic near you. The CDC’s resources include:
- A summary of vaccine questions and concerns from patients and parents.
- A tool to make your own immunization schedule for your family.
- A short quiz to identify what vaccines you may need. There is a children’s version available as well.
- The PneumoRecs VaxAdvisor Mobile App for physicians, pediatricians, and pharmacists to help recommend vaccinations to patients.
Vaccines are safe and effective, and they are one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from infectious diseases. By working together, we can make sure that everyone has the opportunity to get vaccinated and stay healthy.