NORWALK – August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This month, the Health Department joined the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health officials to celebrate the benefits of vaccines and highlight their importance for people of all ages.
NIAM highlights the various groups of people who benefit of vaccines:
- school-aged children, who need back-to-school vaccines;
- adults, because vaccines are not just for kids;
- pregnant women, who can protect themselves and pass protection on to their babies;
- babies and young children, because a healthy start begins with on-time vaccination; and
- pre-teens and teens, who can ensure a healthy future with vaccines.
During NIAM and throughout the year, the Health Department’s Immunization Action Plan (IAP) Program works with families, health care providers, and the community to ensure that area children and adults receive age-appropriate vaccines. This year, the IAP Program ran a successful Win/Win/Win campaign to promote the vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV) to young people in the Norwalk area.
“The HPV vaccine can prevent several cancers in men and women,” explained Pam Bates, RN, BSN, Norwalk IAP Coordinator. “Boys and girls are recommended to start the three-dose vaccine series between 11 and 12 years of age for the best protection.”
As part of the Win/Win/Win campaign, IAP staff encouraged health care providers to discuss and administer this anti-cancer vaccine to their teenage and preteen patients in Norwalk, Westport, or Wilton. Patients who talked to their doctor about the HPV vaccine and/or received the vaccine at their pediatrician’s office could enter a drawing to win an iPad, and the offices that entered the most postcards won a free lunch for their staff. The campaign was a Win/Win/Win: Win immunity for children and the community, win an iPad, and win lunch for health staff. This year, 12-year-old Carlee Nassra won the iPad after speaking with her doctor about the HPV vaccine. Willows Pediatric Group and Bay Street Pediatrics, both in Westport, won lunch for their staff members.
For more information about the Health Department’s services for those seeking vaccines, visit our website at www.norwalkhealth.com.
About the Norwalk Department of Health: Under the direction of the mayor, and with valuable guidance from its six-member Board of Health, the Norwalk Health Department provides a variety of services and programs to fulfill its mission: to prevent and control the spread of disease, promote a healthy environment, and protect the quality of life within its changing community. The Health Department achieved accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) in June 2014, demonstrating that it meets or exceeds national public health standards and commits to continuously improve the quality of the services it delivers. More information is available at www.norwalkhealth.com.