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           National Health Focus                  Immunization Awareness

The Ask Nurse Z Show airs weekly on Internet Radio Stations: and on Please check the station schedules for the current dates and times.  Here we have presented the text form of the show for your review and information. 

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) provides an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the lifespan. Activities focus on encouraging all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases. In 2014, the National Public Health Information Coalition is coordinating National Immunization Awareness Month activities.

Immunizations and African Americans

Immunization is among the most effective disease prevention measures known, yet immunization rates for African-American toddlers and adults are lower when compared to the rest of the population. An annual survey conducted by the State of California found that only 69% of African-American 2-year-olds met the recommended immunization schedule.
African American adults are less likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have received the flu vaccine in the past year or to have ever received the pneumonia vaccine. In 2009, Non-Hispanic Black aged 65 and older were 30% less likely to have received the influenza (flu) shot in the past 12 months, as compared to non-Hispanic whites of the same age group.
In 2010, African American adults aged 65 and older were 30% less likely to have ever received the pneumonia shot, as compared to non-Hispanic white adults of the same age group.
African American women are less likely to have received a HPV vaccine, as compared to Whites. HPV infection causes warts. More than 100 varieties of human papillomavirus (HPV) exist. Different types of HPV infection can cause warts on different parts of your body. For example, some types of HPV infection cause plantar warts on the feet, while other varieties of HPV infection are responsible for the warts that most commonly occur on the hands or face.
There are more than 40 different strains of HPV that specifically affect the genital area. Most HPV infections don't lead to cancer, but some types of genital HPV can cause cancer of the cervix — the passage between the vagina and the uterus. Vaccines can help protect against the strains of genital HPV most likely to cause genital warts or cervical cancer.
In 2002, African-Americans in the United States aged 65 and older were 30% less likely to have received the influenza (flu) shot, and 40% less likely to have ever received the pneumonia shot, compared to non-Hispanic White adults of the same age group. (Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health).
Lower vaccination rates appear to be caused by lack of reminders for shots and appointments, frequent changes of telephone numbers and addresses, difficulty with transportation and childcare, and mistrust of the health care system. CCHS is working to address these issues.


Why Do we need Immunizations?
Immunization Protects You, Your Family, and Your Community

Today, most of us have never seen firsthand the discomfort, disability and even death that vaccine preventable diseases can cause. The success of widespread immunization means that we are more likely to witness a rare reaction to a vaccine than a case of the disease that the vaccine prevents.

How Vaccines work
Vaccines are simple. One to five doses of a vaccine can provide long-term to life-long protection from some serious diseases. Vaccines act naturally to stimulate the body’s own immune system. The body’s response to vaccines builds a defense against future exposure to diseases.
We need to immunize because vaccines prevent 12 potentially deadly diseases. In the days before immunization, millions of people died from diseases like diphtheria, polio, measles and whooping cough. Re-emergence of these diseases occurs when there are decreases in vaccine use.
Vaccine Safety
A long and thorough process is in place to ensure the safety of vaccines. Licensing of a vaccine can take up to 10 years. Once a vaccine is in use by the general public, its safety is continually monitored. Vaccines, like any medication, can cause side effects. However, a decision not to immunize a child also involves risk. Consider measles. One out of 30 children with measles gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get the disease, one or two will die from it. Thanks to vaccines, we have few cases of measles in the U.S. today. However, the disease is extremely contagious and each year dozens of cases are imported from abroad into the U.S., threatening
the health of people who have NOT been vaccinated. Vaccines effectively and affordably prevent diseases like measles that used to disable or even kill many children each year.

Answers to Common Questions about                   Vaccine Safety

You may have questions about stories you have heard in the news or read on the Internet about the safety of vaccines, such as:

Are vaccines safe?
YES, Vaccines are safe, but like any medicine, they can occasionally cause reactions. These are usually mild, like a sore arm, redness at the site, or a slight fever. Serious reactions are rare. Talk to your doctor or nurse about potential risks before receiving a shot.

Can I get a disease from a vaccine?
NO. This is a myth that comes from speculation that because a disease-causing germ is sometimes used in the creation of a vaccine, it is possible for the vaccine to cause the disease. Vaccines, however, are made from killed or weakened bacteria or viruses, non-harmful products of these germs or parts of these germs. In rare cases, some vaccines may cause mild, short-term, disease-like symptoms.

When was your last vaccine? Check with your health care provider to see if you are due.


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                     Until next time take care of your self and those important to you!


  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Red Book, 2006.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  • National Immunization Program Web site,
  • Immunization Action Coalition Web site,
  • Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Web site
  • National Network for Immunization Information Web site,
  • NPI Reference Guide on Vaccines and Vaccine Safety, 2nd edition, 2002.
  • Vaccinating Your Child: Questions and Answers for the Concerned Parent, Sharon Humiston, MD, MPH and Cynthia Good,
  • Centers for Disease Control website at:

Got a question about immunizations? Email the Child Immunization Support Program of the American Academy of Pediatrics at



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