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Don't Procrastinate, Vaccinate!

07-28-2016

We may be savoring the heart of summer, but the start of school is just around the corner. And if your kids play sports, first practice is just weeks away. That’s why it’s time to play safe, be prepared and get your kids vaccinated for the new school year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “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.”

In fact, the Department of Public Health and Human Services has developed strict regulations require infants and children to have up-to-date vaccinations before they can enroll in public or private childcare facilities and schools in Montana.

“Thanks to vaccines, most children in our country are safe from infections that used to cause serious suffering and death,” said Juliet Hansen, MD, of Bozeman Health Pediatrics Clinic, “but immunization remains important to keep these diseases at bay. The start of the school year is a good time to make sure your children's vaccines are up to date.”

For children entering pre-school, required vaccinations are:

3 doses Hib (Haemophilus Influenza Type B)

4 doses DTaP (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis)

3 doses IPV or OPV (Polio)

1 dose MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)

1 dose Varicella (Chicken Pox)

The schedule of vaccinations for children entering grades Kindergarten-12 varies, depending on the age at which they received previous vaccinations. Children generally need five doses of DTaP (but only 4 doses if the 4th dose was administered after their 4th birthday), plus one additional dose (called Tdap) prior to entering 7th grade. They also need 4 doses of IPV or OPV (but only 3 doses if the 3rd dose was given after age 4).

For MMR and Varicella, the first dose is administered after age one, and a second dose is given before Kindergarten. However, if the first MMR inoculation is given after age five, the second shot is given 4 weeks later. With Varicella, if the first dose is given after age five, the second dose is needed 12 weeks later for children under age 13. For children older than age 13, the second shot should be administered only 4 weeks later.

Additionally, Dr. Hansen recommends preteens and teens should also be immunized against Meningococcus, Hepatitis A, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and Influenza. Preteens and teens typically see their doctors or other health care professionals for physicals before participating in sports, travel, or heading off to college. You can beat the back to school rush and use these opportunities to get your preteen or teen vaccinated today.

The pediatricians and family medicine physicians at Bozeman Health can provide all the immunizations required for school attendance. For more information, visit bozemanhealth.org.

Categories: Simply Healthy