August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) and August 1-7 is HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Immunization Week. That makes this month the perfect time to reflect on the vital role vaccines play in protecting our health. Immunizations are especially important because, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Children have missed out on routine childcare and associated immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. if [these] rates fall below levels to maintain herd immunity, dangerous outbreaks of preventable diseases could ensue.”
Now is a good time to contact your doctor and make sure you are up to date with your vaccines. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call 2-1-1 San Diego to find a healthcare provider in your area. Everyone needs vaccinations for life to protect themselves from diseases. Vaccinations and booster shots are recommended at different stages of life to keep your immune system strong. They build immunity in the body to help us fight off infection.
Who needs vaccinations and why?
- Children and young people need vaccinations to protect themselves from infection with diseases when playing sports or at school. Vaccinations are also required to attend most schools in California. HPV Vaccine Week also reminds us to encourage HPV immunizations among youth.
- Young children cannot fight diseases alone. They need vaccinations at birth, 2, 4, 6 and 12-15 months. After full vaccination, infants are protected from 14 serious diseases. Some vaccines require multiple doses to build immunity. Young children aged 2-6 years should receive additional vaccinations for the best protection.
- Vaccines are recommended for pregnant women to provide the mother and her baby with immunity and protection from disease during pregnancy and after childbirth.
- Vaccines and boosters are needed for adults to protect them. The protection that vaccines offer wears off over time. Additional vaccines may also be recommended based on a person’s work, lifestyle, or travel plans.
- Older adults have trouble fighting off infection and are more likely to get sick. They may also have health issues that increase their risk. Vaccines help boost immunity to keep them healthy.
COVID-19 has highlighted the vital role of vaccines in our health. We’ve all experienced what it’s like to be susceptible to disease. This pandemic is a reminder of how serious diseases are and the impact they can have when people don’t have the protection of natural immunity or vaccines. Disease affects our health, well-being and community. Vaccines are available to prevent many diseases. Make sure you are protected and up to date on your vaccines. People as young as 6 months are now eligible to receive a COVID19 vaccine for Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) and Moderna, and as young as 18 for Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Novavax. To learn more, visit the COVID-19 Vaccination Eligibility webpage.
Community Vaccination Events
YMCA/Ralph’s Vaccination Clinic
- Saturday August 6th
- 9 a.m. to 1 p.m
- Dan McKinney Family YMCA, 8355 Cliffridge Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037
Ralphs Pharmacy will be on site to administer MMR, Tdap, HPV and COVID-19 vaccines to individuals aged 5 and over. Newcomers are welcome. Vaccines can be provided free of charge based on your insurance coverage. Registration is recommended by calling 858-333-6238. Participants must bring photo ID, proof of insurance and vaccination cards.
Annual backpack giveaway and HPV vaccination clinic
- Saturday August 13th
- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m
- Lemon Grove Recreation Center, 3131 School Lane, Lemon Grove, CA 91945
Assembly member Dr. Akilah Weber (79th Assembly District), in partnership with Champions For Health and San Diego Protecting Against HPV, is hosting an HPV Vaccine Clinic with additional vaccines for COVID-19 and a backpack giveaway. Additional community resource tables will also be available for all family members. Registration is recommended.