As we head into August, we also enter National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). In a year where vaccinations have been on the forefront of the news, we should look back at why those who can get vaccinated should get vaccinated.
The main reason people get vaccinated is to protect themselves and loved ones, especially when those loved ones cannot receive it due to health complications. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born between 1994 and 2013 have been prevented by vaccines.
One of the many success stories of vaccines is the near eradication of polio. While there are still pockets of the disease in certain parts of the world, polio was eliminated in the western hemisphere in 1994 because of widespread vaccination. This vaccination is still administered to a child at least four times before entering school to keep this incredibly infectious disease dormant.
The success of the polio vaccine is critical to mention because, as of October 7, 2021, there were only 441 cases of polio reported worldwide. These statistics are astounding in contrast to before the vaccinations were available. For example, in 1952, NPR states, “nearly 60,000 children were infected with the virus, thousands were paralyzed, and more than 3,000 died,” in the United States alone.
Disease eradication is the overwhelming power of immunization, which is why we need to make sure everyone is aware of the importance of this month. Community Health Connections has two sites dedicated to COVID-19 vaccinations as well as testing and also offers to have our vaccination care teams come to where you work, play, or pray for community vaccination clinics. As a community health center, we strive to care for everyone and offer accessible and equitable quality care to whomever walks through our doors. If you need care, we want to help!
As a community health center we are also celebrating National Health Center Week, which runs from August 8-14, 2021. This week is an annual celebration of America’s health centers and aims to raise awareness of their mission and accomplishments over the last five decades.
Each day of the week has a special theme to showcase all of the great work community health centers around the United States, including CHC, offer every day to everyone, regardless of income or insurance status:
- Sunday, August 8 – Public Health in Housing Day
- Monday, August 9 – Health Care for the Homeless Day
- Tuesday, August 10 – Agricultural Worker Health Center Day
- Wednesday, August 11 – Patient Appreciation Day
- Thursday, August 12 – Stakeholder Appreciation Day
- Friday, August 13 – Health Center Staff Appreciation Day
- Saturday, August 14 – Children’s Health Day
Health centers serve one in twelve people today in the United States, which is about 30 million people in total. More importantly, community health centers work to provide care for all. Providers meet patients where they are and work with them to create a care plan where the patient is empowered to participate. Community Health Connections serves as a mainstay for compassionate care in North Central Massachusetts and is the only federally-qualified community health center in the area. If you are looking for care for you or loved ones, please give us a call and we’ll work together to find you the care that you deserve. Call us at 978-878-8100.