Your immunizations are up to date. Your kids are on track to receive all of their required and recommended vaccines before school starts. You’ve even scheduled your 2015-2016 flu shot appointments (you overachiever, you).
Your job is done, right? Not so fast.
We applaud you for taking the necessary steps to protect your family from preventable diseases, but there’s even more we can all do to support healthy immunization practices and policies nationwide. Thanks to social media, local immunization coalitions, and good old-fashioned email writing, it’s easier than ever to become a pro-vaccine advocate—in honor of National Immunization Awareness Month, here are five easy ways that you, too, can advocate to make these life-saving medicines broadly available and easily accessible.
Together, let’s prevent what’s preventable.
Participate in National Immunization Awareness Month: Since 2007, the Center for Disease Control has dubbed August National Immunization Awareness Month. The annual campaign educates the public on the importance of vaccines and invites all of us to become community advocates for vaccine awareness and utilization. The easiest way to join in the conversation? Follow #NIAM on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and amplify the messages, facts, and info the CDC and The Immunization Partnership send out.
Work With Your Local Immunization Coalition: Contact your local immunization coalition (nearly every state has one) to find out how they’re participating in National Immunization Awareness Month. Get involved on a grassroots level to make a difference where it matters most to you—right at home.
Engage Your Legislators: You don’t have to be a lobbyist or a doctor or even old enough to vote to ask your congressmen to support vaccine-positive bills. Start by registering for The Immunization Partnership’s legislative alerts, which track immunization laws and policies around Texas. Then peruse our legislative resources, a collection of guides that make it simple (and effective) to support pro-vaccine bills—including sample thank you notes, typical scripts for legislative meetings, and how-tos for finding and contacting your local representatives.
Educate Yourself: Seek out the many educational programs, conferences, and webinars that immunization coalitions and nonprofits (including The Immunization Partnership!) host throughout the year. Can’t sneak away during your lunch hour? Start by perusing TIP’s archived webinars and lunch ‘n’ learns on your own time. They cover a number of actionable topics, including tips for responding to vaccine-hesitant parents, tools for working with legislators, and practical strategies for improving HPV vaccination rates in your community.