School-age children, from preschoolers to college students, need vaccines. Making sure that children receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to ensure your children’s long-term health—as well as the health of friends, classmates, and others in your community.
Private or public child care centers, preschools, elementary schools and secondary schools in California cannot admit children unless they are immunized against 10 diseases: diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (bacterial meningitis), measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, rubella, tetanus, hepatitis B and chicken pox.
The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/ has online resources and tools to help parents and doctors make sure all kids are up to date on recommended vaccines and protected from serious diseases.
Get your children to the doctor if you discover they need vaccines to protect them against serious diseases. If you’re unsure of your local school requirements, now is the time to check with your child’s doctor, your child’s school, or your health department. That way, your child can get any needed vaccines.
It’s true that some vaccine-preventable diseases have become very rare thanks to vaccines. However, cases and outbreaks still happen. The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 668 cases from 27 states reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). This is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000. From January 1 to June 26, 2015, there have been 178 cases of measles and 5 outbreaks reported in the United States.
Outbreaks of whooping cough at middle and high schools can occur as protection from childhood vaccines fades. Those who are vaccinated against whooping cough but still get the disease are much more likely to have a mild illness compared to those who never received the vaccine.
Cost should not be a barrier for childhood vaccinations. If health insurance does not cover the recommended vaccinations, children may qualify for free vaccines under the national Vaccines for Children Program. Talk to your doctor or local health department for more information.
Making sure your children stay up to date with vaccinations is the best way to protect your communities and schools from outbreaks that can cause unnecessary illnesses and deaths.
Getting every recommended dose of each vaccine provides children with the best protection possible.