BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)-While most people around the world are following the coronavirus closely, it’s important to not forget about about protecting yourself from other serious diseases. The Florida Department of Health is recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness month. With flu season fast approaching and children returning to school amid the pandemic, health officials say it’s more important now, than ever, to stay on top of your immunizations.
“Vaccinations are a preventative for many diseases for children, there’s 16 different diseases that they help children from getting,” said Heather Kretzer, the Public Information Officer for the Bay County Department of Health.
Vaccinations can prevent diseases like whooping cough, cancers caused by HPV, and pneumonia. The Department of Health also runs a Vaccines for Kids program.
“Those vaccines are free for children. We do offer later in the season, we’ll offer the adult flu vaccinations as well as pneumonia vaccination,” said Kretzer.
Local mother, Melissa Miller, says getting the flu shot for her child this year is top priority.
“Especially with the coronavirus out there it’s nice to be at least vaccinated for the flu so maybe it’s a little less worry for parents,” said Miller.
But others are not convinced.
“I heard something about mercury and all this other jazz and I’m like ‘I don’t want to put that stuff in my system’, whether it’s true or not, I don’t want to chance it,” said Akeem McAfee, a Bay County resident.
The Bay County Department of Health says there’s no need to fear and that people should not stop getting vaccines due to the pandemic.
“It’s still highly recommended that children continue to get those immunizations. The CDC actually did a study back in May and found that many children were behind on their vaccinations,” said Kretzer.
Health officials recommend people get their flu shot around September and October. For a full list of vaccinations recommended by the CDC, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/growing/.