Published August 18, 2022 at 1:00 PM
August marks more than just the back-to-school season, it is also National Immunization Awareness Month. While we have had a strong focus on COVID in the last few years, it’s important that we acknowledge that both Polio and Monkeypox have recently reared their ugly heads.
Polio, once one of the nation’s most feared diseases, was declared eliminated in the United States in 1979, more than two decades after vaccines became available. Yet, the first case in nearly a decade was found in New York’s Rockland County earlier this month. Monkeypox cases have increased to several thousand across the county also.
Most of us are fortunate to have not experienced the suffering caused by widespread infectious disease outbreaks of years past, now eradicated or rendered manageable by vaccines. However, there remain unvaccinated adults and children who are vulnerable to infectious diseases like diphtheria; tetanus and pertussis; hepatitis B; mumps, measles and rubella (MMR); and polio.
As an organization dedicated to research and education, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo has a commitment to inform, empower and protect the community. As future scientists and researchers, I expect that you too will work to safeguard yourselves and your potential patients in the Buffalo area through vaccines and vaccine education.
As we begin the new school year, protect yourself and your loved ones against serious diseases by getting caught up on routine vaccinations. While New York State has certain requirements to attend prekindergarten through 12th grade, not all students grew up in that traditional school setting. Everyone should check their vaccine records to be sure they are up to date.
This includes the full COVID-19 vaccination. All who are eligible for a booster shot are strongly encouraged to stay up to date with all boosters also. Please remember that, in addition, you are subject to the specific vaccination requirements at your clinical rotation sites.
Thank you for doing your part to help the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences maintain an in-person academic and community student experience. I look forward to welcoming you back to campus in the weeks ahead.
Allison Brashear, MD, MBA
Vice President for Health Sciences
Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences