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Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Urges Pennsylvanians to Get Immunized
Date:7/31/2009

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 31 /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 and encourage all age groups to learn more about recommended vaccines. To increase awareness in Pennsylvania, various regional immunization coalitions from around the state will join together and host a number of events at minor and major league baseball games during the month of August with a themed message entitled, "Cover Your Bases - Get Immunized."

For more information on immunizations call 1-877-PA-HEALTH or visit www.health.state.pa.us/immunizations.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a list of confirmed immunization events happening statewide during the month of August.

Philadelphia County:

Aug. 19 - 7:05 p.m. - Adult immunization awareness night with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia. The event is sponsored by the Delaware County Immunization Coalition, Montgomery County Immunization Coalition, Chester County Immunization Coalition, Philadelphia Immunization Coalition, Bucks County Immunization Coalition, Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Coalition and the MARTIN flu foundation. Direct services will be provided to the public in the form of education, explaining the importance of immunizations and taking preventative measures and exploring the dangers of not being immunized.

Lehigh County:

Aug. 21 - 7:05 p.m. - "Immunization Awareness Night" with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Park, 1050 IronPigs Way in Allentown. The event is sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Immunization Coalition. Direct services will be provided to the public in the form of education, explaining the importance of immunizations and taking preventative measures and exploring the dangers of not being immunized.

Erie County:

Aug. 24 - 7:05 p.m. - Immunization activity called, "Here's the pitch ... Immunize" with the Erie Seawolves at Jerry Uht Park, 110 E 10th St., Erie. The event is sponsored by the Erie Immunization Coalition. Direct services will be provided to the public in the form of education, explaining the importance of immunizations and taking preventative measures and exploring the dangers of not being immunized.

York County:

Aug. 26 - 7 p.m. - "Immunization Night at the Ballpark" with the York Revolution at Sovereign Bank Stadium, 5 Brooks Robinson Way, York. The event is sponsored by the York-Adams County Immunization Coalition. Direct services will be provided to the public in the form of education, explaining the importance of immunizations and taking preventative measures and exploring the dangers of not being immunized. Immunizations will also be offered to game attendees.

    CONTACT: Stacy Kriedeman   (717) 787-1783


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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