BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – It’s South Carolina Immunization Awareness Week.
All week long, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and South Carolina Immunizations Coalition are focusing on different age groups and the lifesaving impact vaccines can have on them.
This also coincides with August being National Immunization Awareness Month.
Not only are health officials stressing the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine — approved for those 12 and up — but they’re reminding the public that because of vaccines, many diseases that used to cause death and severe illness are no longer a serious threat. And as in other states, certain immunizations are required in South Carolina for children who attend school or day care.
Here’s a brief rundown of Immunization Awareness Week, with key information from DHEC:
- Monday, Aug. 2 – Newborns through 3-year-olds: Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles, and polio. Those same germs exist today, but because babies are protected by vaccines, we don’t see these diseases nearly as often.
- Tuesday, Aug. 3 – Four- and five-year-olds: For these ages, talk with your child’s pediatrician to make sure they’re current with diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DTaP); polio; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); chickenpox; and flu shots.
- Wednesday, Aug. 4 – Elementary-age children: Delaying or skipping vaccines for elementary-age children may lead to school outbreaks of preventable diseases. This age group will need booster shots of DTaP and MMR, among other recommended vaccinations.
- Thursday, Aug. 5 – Pre-teens and adolescents: Vaccines are one of the best ways to avoid serious and deadly disease, such as can occur from meningitis. Some vaccines can even help prevent types of cancer. Beginning with 11- through 12- year olds, teenagers should get a two-shot series of HPV vaccine.
- Friday, Aug. 6 – Adults of all ages: Even if you received the vaccines you needed as a child, the protection from some vaccines can wear off. The annual flu vaccine is especially important for adults.Vaccines are available that can help those who are 50 and older prevent shingles and certain lung and bloodstream infections.
More information on the immunizations recommended for certain age groups is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website (click or tap here to view).
“Vaccines have been saving lives and protecting people from death and illness for generations,” said DHEC Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler. “Just like vaccines have been overwhelmingly successful in saving populations from polio, tetanus, hepatitis, measles, whooping cough, the flu and many other diseases, we have lifesaving vaccines available that protect us from COVID-19 today.”
To find a free COVID-19 vaccine provider near you, visit scdhec.gov/vaxlocator.
“Unvaccinated people are the reason the pandemic is ongoing,” said Dr. Traxler. “Nearly 9,900 South Carolinians have lost their lives to COVID-19, and those individuals would have given anything to have access to a vaccine that could’ve saved their lives, as we all have today.”