Why your kids need their shots before school, & how to get them
FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 7, 2013 —
BY BETH GABOR
COUNTY OF YOLO
Although the long, warm days of summer are still upon us, the time is ripe for parents to prepare their youngsters for the first day of school. For most Yolo County children, the big day is just weeks away. On that morning, not only will children need a good night’s rest and a healthy breakfast to ensure success, they will also need to be fully immunized. California state law requires that all children attending school receive their shots. Dr. Constance Caldwell, Yolo County Health Officer encourages parents to make sure their children are fully immunized now, before classes start.
“Childhood immunizations are one of the best ways that a parent can assure good health for their child,” said Dr. Constance Caldwell, Yolo County Health Officer, in a county press release. “As families plan the final vacation trips and gatherings of summer, make sure to include time for a visit to your clinic or medical provider for needed check-ups and immunizations. Your healthcare provider will make sure that your child is up to date on required immunizations for school, including an adolescent whooping cough booster shot (Tdap) for incoming 7th graders.”
Schools are required to verify each child’s immunization record to ensure all shots and boosters are completed before entry to kindergarten and 7th grade. The only exceptions are those with a medical condition in which their doctor has determined puts the child at risk for vaccine-related complications, or parents with a personal or religious belief which prohibits them from vaccinating their child. Kindergartners need a total of five DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), four polio, three hepatitis B, two MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and one varicella (chickenpox) shot. Kindergarten boosters for DTaP, polio and MMR are given at 4 or 5 years of age. Last school year, 91% percent of Yolo County kindergartners were fully immunized. For students entering 7th grade, 97% had received the whooping cough (pertussis) booster before starting school.
If a child does not have health insurance, or is only partially insured, the Yolo County Health Department can give parents information about which local healthcare providers offer free or low-cost immunizations. Call the Yolo County Child Health Disability Prevention Program at (530) 666-8249 for help finding a provider. In addition, the Health Department offers a children’s immunization clinic for families that qualify for the Vaccines for Children program. Children that have no health insurance to pay for their immunizations, or who are on Medi-Cal, are eligible to receive shots from the Health Department. The clinic schedule can be found at www.yolohealth.org or call (530) 666-8562.
Copyright News-Ledger 2013