August is National Immunization Awareness Month and New Jersey Health officials are urging all residents of the Garden State to get vaccinated.

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"National Immunization Awareness Month is a good time to New Jerseyans of all ages to protect themselves and their communities by catching up on their vaccinations," said State Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd. "We never outgrow our need for immunizations across the lifespan, from babies to seniors. In fact, immunization is a powerful tool that protects public health by reducing disease and saving lives."

Children heading into Kindergarten should be receiving TDAP, polio, MMR, hepatitis and chicken pox vaccines.

"They probably received some of those as babies, but parents should make sure those records are up to date and their children are fully vaccinated for all those diseases," said O'Dowd. "If you're going into sixth grade, you're due for another TDAP vaccine and if you're going into college this September, you'll need hepatitis B, meningitis and MMR."

Immunization is not only important for children.

"Many adults should be considering a TDAP vaccine themselves because it protects from tetanus and pertussis, or whooping cough, which we have seen increasing cases of in New Jersey over the past couple of years," said O'Dowd.

"Some adults are eligible for shingles, pneumonia or hepatitis vaccines to protect them from contagious diseases. It's very important for adults to consider vaccinations whether they have young children or work in the community or have elderly parents."

Each week of National Immunization Awareness Month focuses on promoting vaccination of different groups:

  • August 4-10 highlighted immunizations for college students
  • August 11-17 focuses on back-to-school vaccination
  • August 18-24 highlights adult immunization
  • August 25-31 focuses on pregnant women and children