As beach balls are replaced with backpacks for the new school year, the push is on to assure that everyone is up-to-date on vaccinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends routine vaccination for 17 vaccine-preventable diseases in infants, children, adolescents or adults and named August National Immunization Awareness Month.

Vaccinating kids not only protects them, but people around them who are more vulnerable to diseases due to health conditions or weak immune systems.

Adults also need vaccinations, especially if they suffer from a chronic condition like asthma, COPD, diabetes or heart disease.

“When you have any kind of chronic condition, such as cardiovascular disease, you don’t have the physiological reserves that healthy individuals have to fight an infection,” said Donna Arnett, chair and professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

People with heart disease, especially heart failure, should be extra vigilant about keeping their vaccines up to date because they are more susceptible to pneumonia and complications of the flu.

“Research has shown us that you dramatically reduce your risk of death from pneumonia or flu with vaccination and that protection appears to occur year-round,” said Dr. Arnett, also the immediate past president of the American Heart Association.

Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.