XENIA — As back-to-school season approaches, Greene County Public Health officials are reminding parents to immunize their children now to protect them against vaccine-preventable disease and avoid the last minute rush.
To emphasize the importance of immunizations for everyone, and to make sure that children in particular are protected with all of the vaccines they need, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is joining the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.
“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health and that of classmates and the community,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Mary DiOrio. “If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs, and when.”
According to a press release from Greene County Public Health, unvaccinated children are at increased risk for contracting vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, mumps and rubella. They also may spread diseases which are serious or potentially life-threatening for high-risk individuals such as infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated and others who have weakened immune systems due to other health conditions.
Parents should contact their health care provider to ensure all required immunizations have been provided to their child prior to the first day of school, the release continued. Children who go to school without the required vaccinations risk being excluded from school until all requirements are met. They also risk becoming ill or causing other children to become ill.
In the Fall of 2016, the meningococcal vaccine requirement took effect under Ohio Law. All incoming seventh graders must have one dose of the meningococcal vaccine, and all incoming twelfth graders must have had a dose of the vaccine on or after age 16. More information on the meningococcal vaccine requirements can be found at the following link under “Immunization Summary-School.” http://bit.ly/2aHwKuN
GCPH officials state that incoming kindergarten students are required to have:
• 2 doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccination (MMR),
• 2 doses of the Varicella vaccination (chickenpox),
• 3 doses of the Hepatitis B vaccination,
• 3 -4 doses of the Polio vaccination (IPV), and
• 4- 5 doses of the DTaP vaccination (whooping cough).
Incoming seventh-grade students are required to have:
• 1 dose of the TDaP vaccination (whooping cough), and
• 1 dose of the meningococcal vaccination.
Incoming twelfth-grade students are required to have:
• 2nd dose of the meningococcal vaccination
Whooping cough (pertussis) has made a comeback in recent years; vaccination will protect children and family members. Additionally, the HPV vaccination (an anti-cancer vaccine) is recommended for students 11-26 years of age.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Chapter (Ohio AAP) and ODH suggest parents download the free “Fast Vax Facts” app, available in the App Store and on Google Play. “Fast Vax Facts” is a new app featuring valuable, pediatrician-approved immunization resources for parents and guardians. A link to the app can be found at www.OhioAAP.org/FVF.
For more information about Greene County Public Health, visit the website at www.gcph.info or call 937-374-5600.