Send Your Kids Back With All Their Shots: Immunizations Help Prevent Life-Threatening Illnesses

Allison Gosbin

It may seem like summer just started, but back-to-school season will be here soon. Now is the time to make appointments for your children to get any immunizations they need. Getting children all of the immunizations recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one of the most important things parents can do to help protect their children’s health. Schools require children to be current on immunizations before enrolling to protect the health of all students.

Today’s childhood immunizations protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox. When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk of disease and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community. Those most at risk include babies who are too young to be fully immunized and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.

School-age children need different immunizations based on age. For example, kids who are 4 to 6 years old are due for boosters of four vaccines: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, also called whooping cough), Chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella, Polio ...

Older children, such as pre-teens and teens, need protection from additional infections. They may be due for the following immunizations: Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), HPV (human papillomavirus), MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate virus), MenB (meningococcal group B). In addition, yearly flu immunizations are recommended for all children 6 months and older.

Check with your child’s doctor to find out what immunizations he or she needs this year. Parents can find more information about the recommended immunization schedule at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/protecting-children.

Allison Gosbin, RN, BSN, CIC, is a public health nurse with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.