In recognition of National Immunization Awareness Month, the Health Department reminds New Yorkers about the importance of vaccines. Vaccination not only protects the person receiving the vaccine, it also helps prevent the spread of disease and protects those most vulnerable to serious complications, including infants and young children, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems. With school approaching, the Health Department also reminds parents that vaccines are required for children to attend child care and schools. An additional requirement for the 2018-19 school year is that all children 6 months to 5 years of age attending a New York City-regulated child care or prekindergarten must have one dose of the influenza vaccine by December 31st. Learn more about required vaccines here.
“Vaccines are among the most successful methods of preventing disease and have significantly reduced once common infectious diseases that cause sickness, hospitalizations and even death,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “It’s extremely important that all New Yorkers protect themselves against infections that can be acquired in the city or while traveling.”
“Vaccinations not only helps protect those who get vaccinated from getting sick, but they also help prevent illnesses from spreading to others,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. “It’s a key step to a healthy community, and I strongly urge all New Yorkers to do the right thing and get vaccinated. It’s the responsible thing to do.”
“I commend the efforts of the New York City Department of Health for reminding New Yorkers about the importance of getting vaccinated, especially the most vulnerable among us,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I join them in urging my fellow New Yorkers to visit their local health care providers promptly and get the necessary vaccines that will protect their health.”
“Vaccinations are proven to stop the spread of dangerous infections and save lives,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Even infections that we can shrug off ourselves could be extremely dangerous for the young, the elderly, or other vulnerable New Yorkers. When we get vaccinated, we’re making our city safer and healthier for all New Yorkers.”
“I realize there is a lot of misinformation about vaccinations out there, nowadays, but it is very important, not just for our own personal health, but for the health of our friends, families and neighbors that we vaccinate our children,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Vaccinations have not only kept deadly disease at bay from spreading, but have helped eradicate them as well. These diseases strike our most vulnerable residents, our children and our seniors, the hardest which is why it is very important we get vaccinated.”
“I join Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett in encouraging New Yorkers to take the time to get vaccinated and safeguard against dangerous infections or disease that can cause serious, potentially fatal complications,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. “As we approach the start of the new school year, it is especially critical that our city’s children are protected.”
Within the last 10 years, communities throughout New York City have experienced outbreaks of meningococcal disease, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps, measles and hepatitis A. The severity of this past influenza season, in which 179 children died nationally, five of whom were in New York City, and thousands of people were hospitalized, is a reminder of how important it is to receive vaccines. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Every year, more New Yorkers die from influenza and pneumonia than from any other infection. In 2016, 2,019 New Yorkers died from influenza and pneumonia, which is a common complication of influenza. About 85 percent of influenza-related deaths are among people aged 65 years and older.
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Despite the effectiveness and importance of vaccines, only about three-quarters of young children ages 19 months to 3 years have received all recommended vaccines. Low vaccine coverage is associated with an increased risk of transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks.
Vaccines are recommended throughout the lifespan based on age, lifestyle, occupation, travel destinations, medical conditions and vaccines received in the past.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older, should receive an annual flu vaccine.
- Pregnant women should get the flu and Tdap vaccines to protect themselves and their newborns from influenza and other infections.
- Children are recommended to receive vaccines protecting them against harmful diseases such as measles, mumps, chicken pox (varicella), invasive pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae disease and whooping cough by 18 months. Starting at age 4 children entering Kindergarten need two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and chickenpox vaccines, and a DTaP and polio booster.
- Adolescents need the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) vaccine to protect against HPV-related cancers, the meningitis vaccine to protect against bacteria and viruses that cause meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) and the Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
- Adults 50 years should receive the shingles vaccine.
- Adults 65 years and older need to be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.
Get more information at health.nyc.gov