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Doctors encourage parents to check vaccine records during National Immunization Awareness Month

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- August is National Immunization Awareness Month. The goal is to bring awareness to the importance of immunizations and make sure they're up to date on the vaccines recommended for them.

Doctors say vaccinations are the first line of defense to prevent serious, sometimes deadly diseases.

"The biggest thing and most important thing we as pediatricians can do is to immunize our patients. Immunizations are safe, effective and save lives," said Dr. Ashlie Stallion.

The month of August is used to increase immunization awareness from infants to the elderly. As kids go back to school, coming in closer contact with their peers and as flu season approaches.

"There are certain age groups where we seem to get a large influx of patients during like kindergarten time as well as middle school or sixth grade," said Dr. Stallion.

Dr. Stallion says it's important not to slack off on vaccines as your child gets older. One of the most common vaccines recommended for pre-teens is to prevent to human papillomavirus or HPV. It has its fair share of controversy since HPV is a sexually transmitted disease.

"It's not a vaccine that you only give to children that are sexually active. We basically want the vaccine to be given and already be taking effect in the body before the child even has sexual encounters," Dr. Stallion said.

And for parents who don't believe in vaccination at all, the doctors say educating them is key.

"To those that may not agree there is no evidence-based research that says differently that vaccines aren't lifesaving and are safe and effective for patients to receive."

Dr. Stallion and her team feel so strongly about this, they no longer see patients who refuse to get vaccinated.

"So by mixing populations like that, that's also kind of a public health concern as well when you have unvaccinated mixed with your people that are unable to receive vaccines so you're putting others at risk."

For more information on  National Immunization Awareness Month and to check for the vaccines you and your family need, click here.