Aug. 5, 2005
August is National Immunization Awareness Month
The Oswego County Health Department is asking people to make sure they and their loved ones are up-to-date on their immunizations.
"Vaccines are a key to a healthy life for people of all ages and during Immunization Awareness Month we'd like to remind people of the importance of being up-to-date," said Kathleen Smith, Oswego County Commissioner of Health Services.
"In August, parents are enrolling children in school, older students are entering college and adults and the health care community are preparing for the upcoming influenza season. This makes August a particularly good time to focus community attention on the value of immunization," Smith said.
Vaccines have been used since the 1700's and are recognized as among the safest and most effective means of preventing life-threatening infections. Vaccines work by telling the person's immune system to prepare itself for possible exposure to disease-causing viruses or bacteria.
According to Smith, "When the person is actually exposed to the agent, the body knows exactly what to do to fight off the disease. This not only protects the immunized person, but it often limits the infectious organism's ability to pass from person-to-person. Thus, people who cannot be immunized because of underlying medical conditions or who fail to respond to immunization are still protected by virtue of what is referred to as community immunity."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children receive vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, polio and others. Adolescents should be vaccinated against tetanus, hepatitis B and meningococcal disease, and others that may have been missed earlier. Adults should receive vaccines against influenza, pneumococcal disease, tetanus and diphtheria.
The Oswego County Health Department holds immunization clinics every Friday morning at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski, and every Friday afternoon at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego. People with questions may call the health department at 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547.
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