News: DOD hosts 5th annual National Immunization Awareness Month
Story by Pfc. Nikki Phongsisattanak
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The Department of Defense is taking part in the fifth annual National Immunization Awareness Month sponsored by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This year DOD’s NIAM, held in August, comes with the theme: “Immunization health and the DOD family.”
Immunizations and vaccines are the equivalent of swords and shields in the fight against diseases and illnesses. Immunizations are protective measures that have saved the lives of many and this proactive nature has kept people safe from vaccine-preventable diseases.
“It’s very important to prevent disease and it’s more effective than treating disease. It is also more cost effective and it’s better all around for the population,” said Navy Lt. Crystal Dailey, head of preventive medicine and naval health officer with Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune. “Immunization is a lifelong process. We start immunizations from birth and people (continue to) receive immunizations to maintain good health.”
The CDC and Federal Drug Administration recommends 17 routine vaccines for people of all ages to protect against infectious diseases such as measles, diphtheria and rubella, which are common diseases found around the world. The requirements and recommendations for individuals to receive specific vaccinations are periodically reviewed and updated by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices with the CDC.
Recently, the CDC and the FDA have issued updates and recommendations for a broad range of individuals according to specific age groups, gender, medical history and geographical location.
During NIAM, outreach and education events will be held in various places such as NHCL and the Main Marine Corps Exchange aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, said Cornelius Rowe, a health system specialist and regional analyst with Military Vaccine Agency.
The goal of NIAM is to inform beneficiaries about the services available for them. This exchange of information brings awareness to people so they receive the proper care recommended or required by organizations such as the military or school systems.
“This month is allocated to immunization month because it’s extremely important to focus on preventing disease and promoting healthy lifestyles,” said Dailey. “Keeping service members and their families safe and healthy is important, but good health is also essential to maintaining the readiness of our military.”
Department of Defense beneficiaries and health care personnel can obtain specific information on recommended immunizations from their health care provider or NHCL’s immunization clinic by calling 450-4648.