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August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Our lives are consumed by COVID-19. We worry about ourselves and our loved ones contracting the virus each time we leave the house. We want to be able to do our errands without fear, go back to work and school, and socialize. We wonโ€™t be able to open everything and return to our normal routines until a vaccine or treatment is available.

COVID-19 is only one of many infectious diseases. In the first half of the twentieth century, people worried about polio, a disease that could lead to paralysis or living in an iron lung. We no longer fear polio because it has been eradicated in the United States due to vaccines. Vaccines protect us from a myriad of diseases, such as measles, mumps, whooping cough, hepatitis A & B, and even chicken pox, which was a rite of passage when I was a child. However, vaccines are only effective if people receive them.

As of August 19, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is requiring all students to receive a flu shot by the end of the year in order to attend school unless a medical or religious exemption is provided.

For more information on vaccines and vaccine safety, visit MyHealthFinder, the CDC, or the Vaccine Information Statements from the CDC. For information about vaccines in other languages, visit HealthReach or MedlinePlus.