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Back to School – National Immunization Awareness Month

With school just around the corner, it is important to make sure your child is ready. You have purchased the supplies, met the teacher and walked through their new schedule. What else should you do? Check your child’s immunization chart.

Dr. Peily Soong

“Make sure your child’s shots are up-to-date and they don’t need any vaccinations.” said Dr. Peily Soong with Pediatrics East. “During this time of year, pediatric offices get very busy with people needing immunizations and regular check-ups. Please do not wait until school starts or right after it starts.”

National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.

Vaccines are essential to the health of your child. Being at school, where there are large concentrations of people, your child is at higher risk at contracting an illnesses.

“Schools will not let you in without completing necessary vaccinations,” said Dr. Soong. “So, make sure your child is ready.”

Check out Dr. Soong’s interview with Fox 6 News for more tips on getting ready to go back to school.

Why is it important to stay current with your child’s immunizations?

It is important to not only get initial immunizations, but also any other rounds or boosters that are recommended. In some cases, a single shot is not enough to protect your child from that disease.

Good news is if your child has missed shots in a series, there is no need to start over, simply pick up where they left off. Without the full course of a vaccine, your child is still at risk. These vaccinations will not only protect during adolescent years, but also throughout life.

Which vaccines does your child need?

Doctors are now recommending the following immunizations for teens against the following diseases:

  • diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (Tdap vaccine)
  • measles, mumps and rubella (MMR vaccine)
  • hepatitis A
  • hepatitis B
  • meningococcal disease (meningitis)
  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • varicella (chickenpox) if you have not had the disease
  • polio
  • flu (influenza)

According to Dr. Soong, rising kindergarteners and sixth graders are the most likely to need new vaccinations. It is important to check regardless of your child’s age to know if your child is ready for school.

Of course, if your child has a pre-existing disease that affects their immune system, they may need other vaccinations. There are also some cases in which children should not be vaccinated for certain diseases. Check with your pediatrician regarding your specific child’s needs.

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You may be thinking, “My child hates shots and pitches a fit even at the word.” There are techniques to make shots easier, such as encouraging your child to take calming breaths or even coughing as the needle goes in. Regardless of the fear, remind them that the shot itself lasts only for a second, but the protection lasts a long, long time after that.

To find a practice near you, visit childrensal.org/practices.

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