Starting August 1st is the recognition of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). Now I know what you may be thinking. What kind of immunizations do we need to be aware of? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), NIAM, “provides an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the lifespan” (2015). As health educators and professionals it is important for us to recognize the different vaccinations that are out there as well as what populations may need vaccinations the most. We need to be able to talk to our patients or community members about the different vaccinations available while still being respectful and mindful of the person’s beliefs, religion, and cultural traditions. Our job as health educators and professionals is to make sure our patients and community members have every necessary tool and piece of information they need to make the best decision for their health. So let’s highlight some of the major resources that we can use for our own education as well as resources we can provide to help educate others.
According to the CDC, each week of NIAM will be designated to a certain population. Pre-teens and teens will be discussed during the week of the 2nd through the 8th, pregnant women the 9th through the 15th, adults the 16th through the 22nd, and infants and children the 23rd through the 29th (2015). The materials for NIAM has been organized by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC), and includes education toolkits, social media pages, videos in English and Spanish, as well as links to state and local health department to find more specific information for the area in which you live in (CDC, 2015). One of the first useful links provided when you type in http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam.html to your Internet browser is on the left hand side of the screen listed as education and training.
Within this link you are provided with a surplus of resources. You have a link to continuing education courses that include webcasts and self-studies, net-conferences, and even a link where you can request a speaker to come to your state or region (CDC, 2015). One of the most useful parts for patients and the community is the patient education resources section. There is a total of seven links at the bottom of the page that lead you to handouts you can print out and give to patients or that build your own informational sheet on. One of the links titled “by vaccine- materials for patients” takes you to a page that has a list of vaccines and immunizations that separates the material into a “for parents” section and a “for providers” section (CDC, 2015). This is an important link because there are so many vaccines out there and it can often get confusing for parents, young adults, the elderly, pregnant women, and even providers for what vaccines are needed at different stages in a person's life. Each vaccine is broken down into different sections including clinical, vaccine recommendations, references and resources, provider education, and materials for patients (CDC, 2015). This way we get clear and concise information regarding the vaccine so that we can explain or distribute the information to the community and our patients.
So mark your calendars everyone. August 1st starts a very important month filled with self-education and patient education. We are here to help provide information to those that need it the most. Transcribing health information into understandable terms can help the community and patients to gain a better understanding of the need and importance for immunizations.
Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this information and I have provided the link below to the main page on the CDC site as well as the link to National Public Health Information Coalition page where you can find the different toolkits discussed in the beginning portion of this blog.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Recognizing National Immunization Awareness Month. Retrieved on July 15th, 2015 from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam.html.
National Public Health Information Coalition. (2015). Toolkits, Your Online Communication Guides. Retrieved on July 15th, 2015 from https://www.nphic.org/niam
By: Meredith Molge.
Ms. Molge is a graduate student at Texas Woman’s University. She enjoys her job as an Exercise Technician and EKG Technician where she can apply the knowledge she learns at Texas Woman’s University and make a difference in other people’s lives. When Meredith isn’t working she enjoys running and spending time with her family.