Everyone Needs Vaccines!

vaccines-postVaccines are very important for women — especially for pregnant women. Pregnancy changes your immune system, and during this time of year, you may become more vulnerable to the flu. A flu shot is the best protection against serious complications of the flu, like pneumonia. Getting sick with the flu during pregnancy can be dangerous for both you and your baby. It may cause birth defects or a premature birth. And, since babies younger than 6 months old cannot get a flu shot, your flu shot may protect him or her after they're born.

Likewise, a Tdap booster vaccination during pregnancy can give your baby a defense against pertussis (whooping cough). Pertussis can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses in infants before they are old enough to receive the vaccine themselves. Millions of pregnant women have received these vaccines over the years, and careful tracking has shown that the vaccines are safe for pregnant women and their babies. (In addition to the flu and Tdap shots, pregnant women should also take other preventive actions.)

To help providers, policymakers, and the public better understand the significant role vaccines play in keeping Americans healthy, the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) has released its first annual report: The State of the National Vaccine Plan. This report details the accomplishments and progress of the agencies, organizations, and the many federal and non-federal partners whose individual and collective efforts helped achieve the vision of the 2010 National Vaccine Plan.

front cover of reportThe highlighted accomplishments in the report reflect the extensive and ongoing coordination undertaken by NVPO to pursue the prevention of infectious diseases through immunizations. It also details the breadth and scope of vaccine-related activities of HHS agencies, representing just some of the extraordinary work carried out during their daily operations.

Vaccines are your best shot at good health. The tremendous increase in life expectancy in America during the 20th century was due largely to immunizations. However, there are still people in the U.S. who die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Help keep your family healthy by checking your immunization records and getting vaccinated.