Back-to-school season is here. It’s time for parents to gather supplies and back packs. It’s also the ideal time to make sure your kids are up to date on their vaccines.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a time to celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life, and to make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need before the new school year begins.
Getting vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health. Diseases can spread quickly among groups of children who aren’t vaccinated. Whether it’s a toddler heading to preschool, a student going back to elementary, middle or high school – or even a college freshman – parents should check their child’s vaccination records.
New York State requiresschools to ensure that students have the required immunizations to protect the health of all students. Be sure to your children’s vaccines are up-to-date before school starts, so they do not get sent home for not having the shots they need.
Children entering kindergarten need boosters of four vaccines: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and polio. Children entering sixth grade need Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis). Seventh and twelfth graders need MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate vaccine).
It is also recommended that preteens get the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine at age 11 to 12. In addition, yearly flu vaccines are recommended for all children 6 months and older.
Child care facilities, preschool programs, schools and colleges are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs, and other factors such as interacting in crowded environments.
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 with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.
Parents can find out more about the recommended immunization schedule at
Immunization clinics are held by appointment at the Madison County Health Department at 138 N. Court St., Building 5 in Wampsville. The next clinic is Friday, Aug. 30, from 12:30-3:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 315-366-2848.
In Oneida County, Immunization Clinics are by appointment only: call 315-798-5747. Locations: 300 W. Dominick St. (enter on George Street), Tuesdays 1-3 p.m., 4-6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month; 406 Elizabeth Street, Utica, Monday and Wednesday-Friday 1-3 p.m., 4-6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.