List of back-to-school vaccinations

August 9, 2010 3:45:01 PM PDT
The hustle and bustle of back to school makes us think of shopping for new clothes, buying school supplies and transportation to and from school, among other things. But what about the vaccines needed for school entry? The Texas Department of State Health Services requires students to receive certain immunizations before starting the 2010-2011 school year. Vaccine requirements vary by age group:

? Daycare: Depending on the age of your child, he or she may need Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, DTaP/Tdap (Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis), Haemophilus Influenza type B, Pnuemococcal, Poliovirus, Influenza, MMR - Measles Mumps Rubella, Varicella (Chicken Pox), Hepatitis A, and Meningococcal (Meningitis)

? Kindergarten: Tdap, Poliovirus, MMR, and Varicella, Hepatitis A and B

? 7th Graders: Tdap, Meningococcal, second dose of Varicella

? College Students entering a dormitory for the first time: Meningococcal

"Immunization is one of the most effective tools in keeping our children safe from vaccine ?preventable diseases. As parents, we know that there are many things in this world that we cannot prevent, but many dangerous diseases are preventable through immunization," said Anna C. Dragsbaek, J.D., CEO of The Immunization Partnership. "We urge parents to act now, and avoid the long lines we saw last year."

Many children may have anxiety about getting shots. Dragsbaek advises parents to stay calm, support their child by touching and holding them before, during and after shots. If the child is old enough, explain that getting shots will protect them from very serious diseases. And, after vaccinations, reward them with a special privilege or treat, and remind them that they did something good for their health.

"Watch your child for signs of fever and give over the counter medications as directed if your child has minor discomfort. If he or she is displaying any symptoms that concern you, call your doctor," said Dragsbaek.

Some of the most common communicable diseases that can be prevented with vaccines include:

Chickenpox is highly contagious, and is spread by coughing and sneezing, and through direct contact. Secondary bacterial infections of open skin sores can lead to hospitalization, and death.

Whooping cough or pertussis is a highly communicable bacterial disease characterized by forceful coughing, followed by vomiting. The disease spreads through close contact when an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs. Infants that have not completed their primary vaccine series to protect them from whooping cough are at higher risk for apnea, pneumonia, seizures, encephalopathy, and death.

Several states have reported increases in pertussis cases this year compared to 2009. For example, through June 5, 2010, Michigan and have experienced more than a 50 percent increase in cases. Michigan has reported 323 provisional cases of pertussis compared to only 208 cases through the same week in 2009, while Texas has reported 1,041 provisional cases compared to only 657 cases through the same time last year. Reported cases of pertussis in California have quadrupled over the same time period last year, and the infant death toll is up to six now.

Influenza or flu is a virus that causes fever, body aches, stomach symptoms and a feeling of being exhausted. The flu vaccine is recommended for all ages.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus which can attack the liver. Hepatitis A causes the infected person to be tired, lose their appetite and develop fever, diarrhea and nausea.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease which causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and one out of 20 will get pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who contract measles, one or two will die.

Meningitis can be a fatal disease. Symptoms include fever, headache, a stiff neck, and often nausea, vomiting and mental status changes. Bacterial meningitis can result in joint infection, pneumonia, organ system failure, and shock. Symptoms can progress rapidly, sometimes leading to death in 24-48 hours.

"As parents, we should make the choice to eliminate the risks of preventable diseases, by making sure we, and all our children are up-to-date on our vaccinations," said Dragsbaek.

"Set the example for your child by getting your annual flu shot and by making sure you are up to date on all your vaccines as well. As a community, we protect each other by protecting ourselves. Immunize. Prevent what's preventable".

About The Immunization Partnership

The Immunization Partnership is a non-profit organization that aims to eradicate vaccine preventable diseases by developing and coordinating our community's resources through public and private partnerships. The primary focus areas are education, advocacy and public policy, and support of immunization information systems. For more information, visit www.immunizeUSA.org


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