Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman are reminding residents about the importance of vaccines and the protection they provide against serious diseases during National Immunization Awareness Month.
National Immunization Awareness Month is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.
“It is one of the best ways parents can protect their children from potentially harmful diseases,” Neuhaus said. “Adults may also be at risk for disease due to age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions such as asthma/COPD, heart disease and diabetes, and should consider getting immunizations if they haven’t already have done so.”
Gelman noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the delivery of vaccinations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer childhood vaccines have been administered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Department of Health reported in mid-May that doses of pediatric vaccines administered in the state (outside of NYC) dropped by approximately half in late March through mid-April 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019.
While vaccines have greatly reduced infectious diseases, it is important to note that the germs that cause vaccine-preventable diseases still exist and can be spread to people who are not protected by vaccines. According to the American College of Physicians, vaccines are safe. Before a vaccine is approved for use in the United States, it undergoes years of careful testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“We strongly encourage you and your family to get vaccinated before flu begins spreading in our communities, especially in lieu of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Gelman said. “The seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months of age and older without contraindications.”