It’s already time for parents to gather supplies and back packs for the back-to-school season. It’s also the perfect time to make sure your kids are up to date on their vaccines.
To celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life — and make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need — the Scotland County Health Department is joining with partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.
“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease and Control’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health — and that of classmates and the community,” said Alisa Freeman, RN, BSN, Family Planning and Immunization Supervisor at Scotland County Health Department.
“If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor or local health department to find out what your child needs, especially since there are new requirements for children entering school and for seventh graders that began on July 1.”
Most schools require children to be current on vaccinations before enrolling to protect the health of all students. Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life threatening diseases, including polio, measles and whooping cough.
When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community, including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people whose immune systems are compromised due to cancer or other health conditions.
School-age children need vaccines. For example, children who are 4 to 6 years old are due for boosters of four vaccines: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and polio.
Older children, like preteens and teens, need Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), Menactra (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines when they are 11 to 12 years old. In addition, yearly flu vaccines are recommended for all children aged 6 months and older.
Parents can find out more about the recommended immunization schedule at cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html, or contact the Scotland County Health Department at 910-277-2440 for more information. Check out Scotland County Health Department’s Facebook page for additional tips and health information.
Kathie Cox is a health educator and public information officer at the Scotland County Health Department. Reach her at 910-277-2470, ext. 4478.