Get Ready for Back-to-School, Get Vaccinated

It’s back to school season which means it’s time to make sure everyone is up-to-date on their vaccines.  

Vaccinations are vital to safeguarding the health and wellness of students, teachers, and the entire school community. Here are some key reasons why it is important to be vaccinated before the school year begins:

  1. Disease prevention: If we make sure that students are up to date with their vaccinations, the risk of outbreaks and epidemics within the school setting is significantly reduced.
  2. Protecting vulnerable populations: Some individuals, such as those with weakened immune systems or certain medical conditions, may not be able to receive vaccines or have a diminished response to vaccination. Maintaining high vaccination rates among the general population creates a protective barrier known as “herd immunity.” This helps shield those who cannot be vaccinated or have a higher risk of severe complications from vaccine-preventable diseases.
  3. Attendance and academic performance: Illnesses can cause significant disruptions in the educational environment. By reducing the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases, students are more likely to attend school regularly, leading to improved academic performance and overall educational outcomes.

By ensuring a high vaccination rate among students, schools become a safer environment for everyone, including students, teachers, staff, and their families. It is important for parents and guardians to consult with healthcare providers or visit local health departments to understand the specific vaccination requirements for their child’s school. 

To increase vaccine awareness during the back-to-school season, Unity is supporting National Immunization Action Month (NIAM). 

What is National Immunization Action Month (NIAM)? 

National Immunization Action Month is an annual event spearheaded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) during the month of August to raise awareness about the importance of immunizations for people of all ages. The initiative aims to highlight the significance of vaccines in preventing and controlling various diseases and encourages people to stay up to date with their immunization schedules.

Unity supports this campaign by continuing to emphasize the role of immunizations in protecting individuals, families, and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases. 

We encourage healthcare providers, parents, and adolescents to each play their role in ensuring adolescents are up to date on recommended vaccines before the start of the school year.

What can you do to get involved?

Healthcare providers: 

  1. Raise awareness: Educate your patients about the importance of vaccines in preventing diseases, reducing the spread of infections, and saving lives.
  2. Address vaccine misinformation: Counter vaccine misinformation and myths by finding accurate and evidence-based information about vaccines, their safety and efficacy.
  3. Practice consistent, concise and confident vaccine recommendations.

Parents: Take your teen to their healthcare provider and keep them up-to-date. 

Teens: Take charge of your health and ask your parents about your immunization status.

Where to get vaccinated:

There are many places to get vaccines, some may even be free of cost to you.

  1. Local Health Departments: Contact your local health department or visit their website to inquire about free vaccination programs in your area. They often offer immunization services and may have specific clinics or outreach programs for providing free vaccines to the community.
  2. Community Health Clinics: Community health clinics, including federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), often offer free or low-cost vaccinations to individuals who may be uninsured or underinsured. These clinics focus on serving underserved populations and can be an excellent resource for accessing free vaccines.
  3. Nonprofit Organizations: Some nonprofit organizations partner with healthcare providers or government agencies to offer free vaccine clinics. Research local nonprofit organizations focused on public health or community development to see if they provide vaccination services or can connect you with resources.
  4. School-Based Programs: Schools, particularly during the start of the school year, may organize vaccine clinics or partner with local health providers to offer free vaccines to students. Check with your child’s school administration or the school district to find out about any vaccination programs they may have.
  5. Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program: The Vaccines for Children program, run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides free vaccines to eligible children who may not have access to immunizations due to financial limitations. Visit the CDC’s website or contact your local health department to determine if your child qualifies for the VFC programs.
  6. Pharmacies and Retail Clinics: Many pharmacies and retail clinics offer vaccines and may have programs that provide free or discounted vaccinations. Ask your local pharmacist about any ongoing promotions or partnerships with health organizations that offer free vaccines.

Availability and eligibility for free vaccines may vary based on your location and individual circumstances. Contact the relevant organizations, healthcare providers, or your local health department to inquire about specific resources and programs available in your area.

Happy NIAM and have a wonderful Back-to-School season! 

Posted in

Natalie Cordero

Natalie Cordero

Natalie is a Communications, Outreach and Development Intern at the Unity Consortium. She is responsible for developing and implementing efficient health promotion and communication strategies and connecting with strategic partners in various related fields.

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