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Our Best Shot at Preventing Infectious Diseases

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It may not feel like it outside, but fall will be here before we know it. And with fall comes an unwanted visitor: flu season.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, which highlights the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. We’re talking about more than the flu shot, of course. Vaccines protect people of all ages from a variety of diseases, including whooping cough, meningitis, diphtheria and tetanus. Just last week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that she is shifting $81 million from other projects to continue work on developing a vaccine for the Zika virus.

Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. For children born in the U.S. during 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.

Those of us in the health care industry know firsthand the importance of vaccines. The Texas Hospital Association encourages all hospital employees to stay up-to-date on recommended vaccines. After all, immunization is a shared responsibility.

Just ask those infected during last year’s multi-state measles outbreak. While no source was identified, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the outbreak likely started from a traveler who became infected overseas and then visited Disneyland in California. More than 100 cases were connected with this outbreak.

Vaccination saves lives. Learn more on the CDC website. And get your recommended shots.

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