With the end of summer approaching, it’s time to think about getting your children caught up with the vaccines required for school.
Vaccines are scientifically proven to help prevent the spread of diseases such as measles and mumps. It’s important to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health (DOH) to stay on top of vaccination requirements and ensure the population, especially individuals with fragile immune systems, are not put at unnecessary risk for exposure to disease.
In this post, we’ll cover the general back-to-school vaccination information; the importance of immunizing your children; the requirements for immunizations; and where to go to receive the necessary dosages or seek additional medical advice.
Back to School
Though it’s admittedly more fun to shop for new school supplies and clothing when your kids are headed back to class, one of the most important things you can do to prepare them for their next academic year is make sure they’ve had the required doses of school vaccinations for their age group. The appointments are usually fast, relatively painless and offered at multiple neighborhood clinics for convenience.
Importance of Immunization
So, why is it so vital to get your kids vaccinated? In recent years, we’ve seen a return of diseases like the measles, which were previously declared to be eradicated. For example, as of this writing, over 80 cases of the measles have been reported in Washington State just this year.
There has also been an increased severity in more common ailments such as influenza — otherwise known as “the flu.” In fact, between 2017 and 2018, the CDC reported 176 flu-related deaths in children alone.
When otherwise healthy children go unvaccinated, they run the risk of not only catching diseases themselves, but of being carriers of the diseases to people who are more likely to suffer extreme harm — or in some cases, death. These at-risk individuals include infants, senior citizens and those of any age with compromised immune systems.
Sometimes kids miss their scheduled vaccinations for various legitimate reasons, but as long as they are caught up, you will be in compliance with the new state requirements. The CDC provides a helpful chart to make sure you know what vaccines your children should have at each age.
Some of the laws and rules for immunizing children have changed in Washington State in light of our recent measles outbreak. To be sure you’re up-to-date on all that’s new, visit the Washington State Department of Health page dedicated to current information.
If cost is a concern, take comfort in the fact that most insurance companies provide coverage for immunizations, as they are considered a necessary preventative measure to maintain good health. In case your provider does not offer coverage, or you happen to be without health insurance at the time the doses are needed, there are a variety of resources that can ensure you get access to low cost, or sometimes even free, vaccines for your children. Visit vaccines.gov for a list of suggested programs and additional information.
Talk to a Doctor
To ensure your kids are up-to-date with all the school immunizations they need, schedule an appointment with the Western Washington Medical Group Family Practice or, if it’s more convenient, a nearby Western Washington Medical Group Walk-in Clinic. Both are equipped with the staff and supplies to advise and assist with back to school vaccines. For more general healthcare information, or if you have additional questions, complete the form on this page.