School Immunizations: The Importance of Vaccinations

Growth and Development, Health and Safety
School Immunizations:  The Importance of Vaccinations

Throughout the years, vaccinations have become a safe and reliable way to prevent a wide variety of diseases. Regular vaccinations are an important part of traditional child development. In fact, public schools and state-approved childcare facilities only allow children who are caught up on all required vaccines. Federal and state regulations outline specific vaccines for different age groups. It is important that parents and guardians become familiar with all of the required school vaccinations as early as possible.

Vaccines work by introducing a diluted version of a virus into the bloodstream. Although the body naturally fights off viruses and diseases, it takes time for our system to recognize and prepare for certain illnesses. Pediatricians begin administering these shots to children as young as two months old. These immunizations include Hepatitis A and B, polio, diphtheria, rubella, measles, mumps, and several other diseases. In the past, these viruses were serious medical conditions, many times even fatal. During the first few years of your child’s life, these vaccines are given regularly until the body is successfully immune. This does not mean that your child cannot contract these viruses and bacteria. However, the bloodstream becomes better prepared to defend against these invaders. School is one of the first environments where your child becomes vulnerable to affects of the outside world. Several days a week they are introduced to people from different backgrounds and circumstances. While these vaccines are required to gain admittance into school, it is also necessary to continue regular immunizations well into adulthood. For example, the MCV4 vaccine, which protects against meningitis, is first administered during the ages of 7 and 10 years of age. The flu vaccine is another important, yet preventable threat. This is a highly contagious virus that affects millions of people every year. Therefore, your child must receive a flu vaccine annually in order to fight off the disease.

Children generally begin attending school between the ages of 4 and 6 years old. Most public schools need documentation of your child’s vaccinations months in advance. Your pediatrician can provide the appropriate immunization records for the school. The first copy is usually free of cost. Many offices will even offer to send them to your choice of school on your behalf. If you have any questions or concerns about the effects or risks of these vaccines, do not hesitate to speak with your child’s doctor.

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