National Immunization Awareness Month is a chance to review your vaccinations

August 2, 2022
Dr. Kathryn Turner, deputy state epidemiologist in the Division of Public Health

National Immunization Awareness Month is observed every August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages, and it’s a good time to check the records of everyone in your family. Being up to date on recommended immunizations is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family against serious or deadly vaccine-preventable diseases.

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What vaccines do people need, and when?

Check with your doctor or visit www.immunizeidaho.com for recommended immunizations for all age groups, including adults. High immunization rates across communities protect the health of those who are most vulnerable to serious complications related to vaccine-preventable diseases, including infants and young children, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions. High immunization rates also prevent or slow the spread of communicable diseases and can even eradicate diseases.

What types of immunizations do adults need?

Adults should get the flu vaccine every year. Adults should also stay current on their COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

The Tdap vaccine is given one time as an adult to protect against whooping cough, also called pertussis, and tetanus and diphtheria. Women should get the Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy to protect their babies until they are old enough to start getting vaccines.

A Td booster is recommended every 10 years to renew protection against tetanus and diphtheria.

Adults aged 50 years and over are recommended to get the shingles vaccine. Other adult vaccines, such as pneumococcal vaccine, are recommended based on age, occupation, previous vaccinations, and health status.

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 www.immunizeidahoschools.com.

COVID-19 vaccines are available for children 6 months old and older.

Are there immunization requirements for college students?

College students should be up to date on their immunizations, including the flu, MMR, Tdap, meningococcal disease, 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 young adults can get the vaccine until they are 26. The meningococcal vaccine is very important for young adults, especially those who will live in residence halls or participate in sports programs to protect against meningitis. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are recommended for college-age students.

How can I get a copy of my immunization record?

Idahoans can download the Docket® app to get a copy of the vaccines recorded in Idaho’s Immunization Reminder Information System (IRIS). For more information about how to use the Docket® app, visit https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/immunizationrecords. Use of the Docket® app is voluntary. Other ways to get immunization records are to request a copy from your health care provider or by submitting a request to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare using this link: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/news-notices/public-records-requests.

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