Back to School Preparation Should Include Vaccinations
Kindergarten through College Students Encouraged to Schedule School-Required Vaccinations Now.
Cleveland, Ohio – ImmunizeOhio.org is encouraging parents and guardians to schedule their children’s back to school vaccinations now. Cindy Modie, R.N., supervisor of vaccine services at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health wants to remind parents and guardians that waiting until classes are ready to start could make it difficult to make an appointment with their child’s pediatrician or primary care provider.
For those who can't get a last-minute appointment at their provider's office, Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) offers a vaccine clinic where children can receive their vaccines. CCBH offers all vaccine shots for infants, children, and teens. As part of the Vaccine for Children Program, they are able to give children under 18 years of age their shots for free or at a low cost. They also accept insurance and out of pocket payments. No child under 18 years of age is turned away due to cost.
Modie noted, “Past experience has shown us that the clinic will be very busy right before school starts. We encourage parents and guardians to schedule their child or children’s vaccinations now to avoid any unnecessary delays.” You can find more information out about the clinic by calling (216) 201-2041 or visiting its website at http://www.ccbh.net/immunization-clinics/.
Children entering kindergarten must be vaccinated for polio, chicken pox, measles/mumps/rubella, hepatitis B, and diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis. Students entering the seventh grade in Ohio are required to have a booster shot of the Tdap vaccination (Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis). Sports physicals offer an additional opportunity to update vaccinations. If your child receives a physical from a health care provider other than their regular pediatrician or family physician, remember to check with their primary care physician to ensure they are current on vaccinations.
Modie also urges both parents and providers to use the opportunity of a doctor's visit to get children and adolescents all the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), not just those mandated for school attendance. In addition to mandatory vaccines, CDC recommends that children older than 6 months have a flu shot, and that adolescents have the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine and a meningococcal vaccine. Modie pointed out, “Teenagers in particular don't go to their doctor often, so it is very important to seize the opportunity and give them all recommended vaccines while they are there.”
Ohio law does not specify immunization requirements for college enrollment, but the law does require students to disclose whether they're immunized against meningitis and Hepatitis B before they can live in on-campus housing. Many Ohio colleges do require newly enrolled students to have a meningococcal disease vaccine. Students are advised to check their university or college entrance rules for immunization requirements.
In August, National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) will provide an opportunity to highlight the need for improving national immunization coverage levels. Activities throughout the month will focus on encouraging all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases.
The Consortium for Healthy and Immunized Communities Inc. (CHIC) is a collaborative of professional organizations working to improve immunization coverage in Ohio through education. Immunizeohio.org brings together a shared effort providing education to health care professionals and parents to remove barriers and improve immunization coverage outcomes. The group is a member of the Immunization Advocacy Network of Ohio.