August is National Immunization Awareness Month – are your immunizations up to date?

Sleeping baby

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to check records for everyone in your family, including adults. Being up do date on recommended immunizations is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family against serious and even deadly diseases at any age. Vaccines are not just for children and preventable diseases are still a threat. Being fully immunized is the safest and best way to be protected.

What vaccines do we need, and when?

Check with your doctor or visit for recommended immunizations for all age groups, including adults. Vaccines not only protect the people who receive them, but healthy people who are fully immunized protect others who cannot be vaccinated because they have weakened immune systems and babies too young to get vaccines. High immunization rates across communities protect the health of those who are the most vulnerable for serious complications related to vaccine-preventable diseases, including infants and young children, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions.

What types of immunizations do adults need to get?

Generally, it’s recommended that all adults get the flu vaccine every year, as well as the Tdap vaccine one time as an adult to protect against whooping cough, also called pertussis, and tetanus and diphtheria. It’s also recommended that women get Tdap during each pregnancy to protect their babies until they are old enough to start getting vaccines. Adults also need to get their Td booster every 10 years to renew protection against tetanus and diphtheria. Other vaccines on the schedule are recommended based on age, occupation, and health status.

The school year has just started for many in Idaho. What are the immunization requirements for students?

There are specific requirements for children attending Idaho schools to be vaccinated against diseases that spread more easily in group settings. Contagious diseases like whooping cough and measles can spread not only at school, but also at home where there may be babies who are too young to be vaccinated. Whooping cough is particularly dangerous for babies. You can talk to your doctor about the vaccines your child needs for school attendance and read more about the school immunization requirements at

What about college students?

College students also should be sure they’re up-to-date on their immunizations, including the flu, MMR, Tdap, meningococcal diseases, and HPV vaccinations. The MMR vaccine is important because it protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. The HPV vaccine can prevent certain types of cancer and is recommended for boys and girls starting at ages 11-12, but men and women can get the vaccine until they are 26. The meningococcal vaccine is very important for young adults, especially those who will be living in residence halls or participating in sports programs.