The purpose of this observance is to highlight the importance of immunizations, one of the top 10 public health accomplishments of the 20th Century, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.While immunizations have significantly reduced the incidence of many serious infectious diseases, vaccination rates for some diseases are not meeting national public health goals.

The need for vaccination does not end in childhood. Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives based on age, lifestyle, job, travel, health conditions and vaccines you received as a child.

For babies from birth, vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2 years old. Pregnancy is a great time to plan for your baby’s immunizations – and to make sure you have the vaccines you need to protect yourself and pass protection from some diseases to your baby during the first few months of life.

Back to school for children, pre-teens and teens is the perfect time to make sure children are up to date on their vaccines. Keeping up to date on vaccines reduces risk for disease and its spread.  Schools are highly susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases because students can easily transmit illnesses to one another as a result of poor hand washing, uncovered coughs and dense populations.

Vaccines are not just for children. Immunizations are needed throughout your adult life to help you stay healthy. That’s because immunity from childhood diseases may wear off over time, and you may also be at risk for other vaccine-preventable diseases.  As young adults prepare for college or a future career, it is important to stay up to date on all doses of the recommended vaccines for protection of yourself and others.  Because some diseases can spread quickly in settings like college dorms and classrooms, many colleges and universities have vaccination requirements for school entry.

Adults need vaccines too! All adults should get vaccines as recommended to protect their health.   Specific vaccines may be required for certain jobs or for international travel.  Even healthy adults can become seriously ill, and can pass certain illnesses on to others. Immunization is especially important for adults 60 years of age and older, and for those who have a chronic condition such as asthma, COPD, diabetes or heart disease. Immunization is also important for anyone who is in close contact with the very young, the very old, people with weakened immune systems, and those who cannot be vaccinated.

Click here for a link to the 2014 CDC Vaccination Schedules for all ages. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/index.html