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August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August 10, 2015

Update your family’s shots now before school-time rush

TACOMA, Wash. – Getting your family ready for the school year? Updating immunizations should be at the top of everyone’s to-do list, right up there with new clothes and backpacks — and something you shouldn’t put off until September.

“August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and we’re reminding Pierce County families to get everyone’s shots updated as soon as possible. Make time now and avoid the back to school rush when it’s difficult to get an appointment at local clinics and physicians’ offices,” said Nigel Turner, Communicable Disease Control division director with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Getting all of the recommended vaccines is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children's health. Unvaccinated children are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their classrooms and community — including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with compromised immune systems. Schools are highly susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases because students can easily transmit illnesses to one another as a result of poor hand washing, uncovered coughs and dense populations.

Different vaccines for different ages
A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for all children 6 months and older.

Children age 4 to 6 are due for boosters of four vaccines:

  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)
  • Chickenpox
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
  • Polio
As they get older, preteens and teens are at increased risk for some infections, and the protection provided by some childhood vaccines begins to wear off, so preteens need a booster dose. So children over 11 need:
  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis)
  • MCV (meningococcal conjugate virus)
  • HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine
Free vaccines and more information
To learn more about childhood and adult vaccines, along with where to find free vaccinations in Pierce County, go to

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posts more about National Immunization Awareness Month and general vaccine information on its site at

Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager
(253) 798-2853, (253) 405-6822 (cell/text),

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