Along with the back-to-school necessities such as folders and backpacks, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is reminding parents to make sure their kids are up-to-date on their vaccines against serious diseases.
To emphasize the importance of vaccinations, and to make sure that children are protected with all the immunizations they need, ODH officials note a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.
“When parents are thinking about their back to school checklists, vaccines should be at the top of the list,” said ODH State Epidemiologist and Bureau Chief of Infectious Diseases Sietske de Fijter. “Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health as well as the health of classmates and the community.”
While the debate continues, according to the ODH, unvaccinated children are at an increased risk for contracting vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, mumps and rubella. Health department officials add children also may spread diseases, like pertussis, which are serious or potentially life-threatening for high-risk individuals such as infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated and others who have weakened immune systems due to health conditions.
“If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs, and when,” said de Fijter.
This fall will be the second school year that the new meningococcal vaccine requirement is in effect under Ohio Revised Code. All incoming seventh graders must have one dose of the meningococcal vaccine, and all incoming twelfth graders must have a second dose of the vaccine.
Michaela Madison Reporting