August is Immunization Awareness Month

I get really tired of “days.” It seems like every day of the year is “National ____ Day” anymore. I used to like Talk Like a Pirate Day and Ninja Day but the overuse of it has me longing for regular, old Sunday-Saturday. Except for Pi Day. I like Pi. And Pie.

That being said, I can totally get behind “months.” There are only 12, so it doesn’t seem so ridiculous that each one has a different affiliation. I’ve recently been made aware of August being dubbed National Immunization Awareness Month. With back-to-school season upon us [seriously… already], some states are cracking down on parents who dawdle in regards to updating vaccinations.

Most schools in both Indiana and Kentucky have a grace period for most of the requirements, allowing parents 20-30 days to get all of the required documents in to the school. But none of them have much room to give where immunizations are concerned.

However, the school in question for the article I took that blurb from does allow exceptions in the case of religion and extended-schedule immunization, while stating that they’ve never had a child in school entirely without vaccination. This is the case with most schools. Especially thanks to the Green Our Vaccines movement and sites that tell people all the ways to legally deny their children the right to stay disease-free.

When this Jenny McCarthy craze started, I had a hard time understanding how, except for religion [and even still…], anyone was getting away with not vaccinating. It had always been required as far as I knew, and I remember my mom having to fill out the forms. In fact, I was given a couple of them at school in the nurse’s office in elementary school. They gave me a lollipop after.

There are helpful sites out there for parents to use as resources. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has an online Vaccine Education Center which includes videos and informational tear sheets for parents questioning whether vaccinating is what they want to do. Healthy People 2010 is a comprehensive list of different ways to make society healthier and includes information on immunizations. Quackwatch posted an article about the misconceptions of immunizations and lists other resources at the end.

The sites are there! They’re just waiting to be utilized. I hope know you all know this, but if you know anyone who is struggling with the decision to vaccinate for any reason, spread the word and help them move in the right direction. Click here to find out more about your particular state’s requirements.


Chelsea is the proud mama of an amazing toddler-aged girl. She works in the retail industry while vehemently disliking mankind and, every once in a while, her bottled-up emotions explode into WordPress as a lengthy, ranty, almost violent blog. These will be your favorite Chelsea moments. Follow Chelsea on Twitter: chelseaepp.

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  1. Don’t vaccinations cause prolonged lifespan and can potentially lead to increased quality of life issues?

    Shouldn’t this site warn people of these dangers?

  2. @Steve: It probably doesn’t help that the top hits on Google for vaccination autism are mostly anti-vax sites.

    Certainly not. But, sadly it makes sense. Because there is no link between vaccination & autism, the sites devoted to actual information don’t have it splattered all over the front page.

    For example, on the Vaccine Education Center site above, you have to dig pretty deep to find anything on autism. Which is how it should be. Those who are practicing and promoting medicine shouldn’t be forced to waste time, money & energy debunking every bit of paranoid woo that comes along.

  3. @anonentity: Damn those pesky vaccines, making people live!

    @Steve: & @Bookitty: You’re right. It doesn’t help at all. But like Bookitty said:

    Those who are practicing and promoting medicine shouldn’t be forced to waste time, money & energy debunking every bit of paranoid woo that comes along.

    That’s why it’s our job to spread the word on factual, science-based evidence in favor of vaccinating.

  4. Ok, I need to ask this and pls bear in mind that I’m from Australia and I do understand many of the differences in our health systems but not this, it seems. Aren’t vaccinations for school age children just automatically done at school? I mean it just makes sense economically and organisationally. Even the cervical cancer vaccine is done at school here. Seriously, it just seems so logical.

    And I Reagan about all the money raised at TAM for vaccinations (and I’m kinda scared about the answer I might get for this question) why? Surely there’s a schedule of free vaccinations for all children – up to and including cervical cancer for teenage girls…?

    I suspect I know the answers to these questions but it’s just become such a standard part of school life and something we accept as the role of government to provide.

  5. @wavingcat: Excellent question, because that definitely points out a huge difference in which we’re on the shit-end of the stick. Nope, immunizations are not generally given at school. Some schools offer certain ones (I received one of my Hepatitis shots from my school nurse), but in general it’s your pediatrician that administers them.

    Unfortunately the money raised at TAM needed to be raised because a lot of the free vaccination programs that did exist are shutting down or are now limiting which vaccines are still free. Here is some information on our vaccine program as stated by the CDC: There are qualifying characteristics that need to be met in order to participate.

    I’d like to hope that this is something we’ll improve upon in the coming years, but I haven’t seen anything yet.

  6. Speaking of Pi day, I would like to offer this little tidbit which is totally off topic:

    Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky loved pie.
    He loved pizza pie, pumpkin pie, pinapple pie, mince tarts.
    And Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky loved pie for breakfast, pie for lunch, pie for dinner, and pie before he went to bbbbbed.
    And Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky loved pie so much that do you know what he did?
    He Popped.

    Now say the above out loud and for every P make a popping sound. It’s hilarious.
    (I got that from an old Monkees album called Pisces, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Jones)

  7. Living in Canada, we also have free immunizations for most vaccines. Some, like Menactra, haven’t been added to the free list, but there is a meningitis (sp?) vaccine that protects against a few of the more common strains. Our province (Alberta) has also announced everyone can get a free flu vaccine this year (before it was only free for seniors, babies and those with chronic health issues).
    In Canada there is no financial reason children aren’t vaccinated, only woo ones.

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