National Immunization Awareness Month, observed each August, highlights the importance of vaccines in preventing serious, sometimes deadly diseases. It’s a yearly reminder to stay up to date on recommended vaccines.
Why Vaccines are Needed
- Vaccines help cut the spread of diseases that have harmed or killed many infants, children and adults. They have almost wiped out some diseases in the U.S.
- Vaccines protect us from certain diseases, while cutting the spread of disease to others.
- Outbreaks of diseases like mumps and measles can still happen, even though they’re rare in the U.S. You can get sick while travelling abroad if you haven’t been vaccinated, and spread the disease to others when you come home.
- All states call for children to be up to date on their shots to attend school or daycare. Some states even call for vaccines for teens going to college for diseases such as meningitis.
Vaccines Are Not Just for Children
- Some vaccines can wear off over time.
- Adults may be at greater risk for some diseases and should be vaccinated. Examples are a seasonal flu shot, tetanus booster every 10 years and
- Zoster vaccine to protect against shingles.
- Pregnant women should get the Tdap shot between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy to protect against whooping cough. They should also get a flu shot during flu season (October through May).
Are Vaccines Safe?
- Vaccines are fully tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are approved for use. Once a vaccine is licensed, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) keep watching its use to make sure there are no safety concerns.
- The FDA also checks the sites where vaccines are made to make sure they follow strict safety guidelines.
- Severe, long-lasting side effects from vaccines are rare.
- See Vaccines – What Parents Should Know for more about the safety of vaccines.
Learn more about vaccines and see immunization schedules by age. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your child’s doctor or your PCP.
Some vaccines are considered preventive care. For many plans, this care is covered at 100% with no deductible, copayment or coinsurance as part of your primary care preventive visit with a network provider.* View or download our Preventive Care Benefits tables.
*Always check your plan documents for your exact coverage.