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Corrected: Secretary of Health Urges Pennsylvanians to Get Immunized
Date:8/3/2009

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Health Secretary Everette James today stressed the importance of immunizations in observance of National Immunization Awareness Month.

"Recommended vaccinations begin soon after birth and continue throughout life. Making sure you and your family are up-to-date on these immunizations is critical to protecting yourselves, your loved ones, and your communities from disease," said Secretary James. "As parents are enrolling their children in school, students are entering college, and healthcare workers are preparing for the upcoming flu season, now is the perfect time to consult with your healthcare provider and catch up on your vaccinations."

The U.S. has seen dramatic reductions in vaccine-preventable diseases over the years because of the routine use of vaccines. Cases of measles, Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), meningococcal meningitis, varicella (chicken pox), pneumococcal disease, and Hepatitis A and B occur at a fraction of what they did before vaccines were available. However, these diseases still pose threats. In the past year, increases have been reported in the number of cases of Hib, and outbreaks of measles and pertussis (whooping cough) affecting people who were either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

Vaccines not only prevent disease in people who receive them, but also protect those who come in contact with unvaccinated individuals including those who are too young to be vaccinated or individuals who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

"Immunizations are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death," James added.

National Immunization Awareness Month is an annual observance to increase awareness about immunizations a
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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