August 1, 2019
HHS Secretary Azar Statement on National Immunization Awareness Month
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement marking August as National Immunization Awareness Month:
“National Immunization Awareness Month is an opportunity to highlight the importance of vaccines as a safe and effective way to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities from preventable health threats. Since the advent of vaccines, we have seen remarkable reductions in diseases that had previously been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in the United States, such as polio and diphtheria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other components of HHS work all throughout the year, across the United States and around the world, to promote awareness of immunizations. Earlier this year, HHS leaders undertook a significant push to educate the public about the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases during National Infant Immunization Week, and that work will continue.
“Unfortunately, while the safety and effectiveness of vaccines has only grown over time, we have recently seen an alarming rise in measles cases, a vaccine-preventable disease that was declared eliminated in the United States back in 2000. Although many measles cases we have seen are linked to international travel, just last week, the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 1,160 in 30 states across the country.
“We at HHS and across the Trump Administration cannot emphasize this enough: Vaccines are safe, and they are one of the safest and well-studied public health tools that we have available. The measles vaccine has protected untold millions of children and adults from needless suffering since it was first introduced over 50 years ago.
“In observance of National Immunization Awareness Month, we urge all Americans to talk to their doctors and ensure they are up to date on the vaccine schedule recommended for them. To support public health and protect all Americans, HHS will continue to share with all Americans a simple message: Vaccines are safe, and vaccines save lives.”