September 16, 2014

Make sure kids’ vaccines are up to date

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Observer staff report
To celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life, the Vermont Department of Health joined with partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.
“Your child should have all of the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s immunization schedule to protect classmates and the community,” said the Health Department’s Immunization Program Chief Christine Finley. “Check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs.”
Most schools require children to be current on vaccinations before enrolling to protect the health of all students. When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk and can spread diseases to others—including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.
Children who are 4 to 6 years old are due for boosters of four vaccines: DTaP (to protect against tetanus and pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (to protect against measles, mumps and rubella) and polio.
Older children, like preteens and teens, need Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and meningococcal vaccine is required for residential students. HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine is not required for school entry, but highly recommended when children are 11 to 12. Yearly flu vaccines are recommended for all children 6 months and older.
Parents can find out more about the recommended immunization schedule at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html or www.healthvermont.gov or www.oktoaskvt.org.

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