Saturday, May 25, 2024

Parents reminded of back-to-school immunizations by health agencies.

Importance of Vaccinations for School Children

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – As the beginning of the school year approaches, many children may be in need of mandatory vaccinations before they head back to the classroom.

The importance of vaccination in schools is considered a matter of public health. It is said to help limit the spread and severity of preventable diseases while protecting those that cannot be vaccinated.

“As kids are going into the school year when they’re going to very close to each other, we get into fall and winter and we’re doing more indoor activities, it’s very important to make sure we’re up to date with our vaccines,” said Beth Brooks, D.O. a Pediatrician at TJ Regional Health in Glasgow.

“There are around 10 to 11 vaccine-preventable diseases and the majority of these vaccines are mandated by schools,” said Suman Shekar, M.D., F.A.C.P, from Med Center Health.

Dr. Shekar also said that vaccines like influenza, COVID, and Gardasil are recommended, but those remain optional for parents. It is also recommended that children are immunized as early as possible because vaccines need to live in the body for at least two to three weeks for immunity to develop.

Immunization Requirements for School Districts

School districts around the country require specific immunizations before children can attend. Health officials recommend that students be fully vaccinated by age 12. Immunization schedules can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy

Healthcare providers are also aware of the rise in vaccine hesitancy in parents, understanding the concerns that parents may have about vaccines injuring their children.

“It’s super normal to be concerned about anything you do for your child. You worry about what school they go to. You worry about what they’re eating. It’s very normal to worry about vaccinating them,” said Dr. Brooks. “Vaccines are very safe, they’ve been around a while, and they’re important to help keep our society healthy.”

Dr. Brooks also said that while vaccine injuries are possible, they are uncommon and unlikely to occur.

Risks of Vaccine Hesitancy

With the rise of vaccine hesitancy coupled with the pandemic, childhood vaccinations saw a large percentage drop leaving communities vulnerable to communicable diseases. This has caused recent outbreaks in Kentucky of diseases like measles and Whooping Cough (Pertussis).

“In the last two years, there was a drastic drop in the percentage of childhood vaccinations,” Dr. Shekar said. “It’s around a 95 to 93 percent drop but in some communities, we know that there’s a drop of less than 90 percent.”

Promoting Vaccination Programs

With those numbers being significantly high, health officials are asking for cooperation between families and schools, to seek out vaccination programs to help make the academic year safer for everyone.

Parents can schedule immunizations with their pediatricians or through their local health departments.

Conclusion

In conclusion, vaccinations play a crucial role in maintaining public health in schools. By ensuring that children are up to date with their vaccines, the spread and severity of preventable diseases can be limited, while also protecting vulnerable individuals. While some parents may have concerns about vaccines, healthcare providers emphasize their safety and effectiveness. It is important for school districts, families, and health officials to come together and address vaccine hesitancy, as recent outbreaks have shown the risks of low vaccination rates. By promoting vaccination programs and seeking immunizations for children, we can create a safer environment for all students.

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