The month of August has parents and children filling their schedules and to-do lists with back-to-school activities. However, the month is also Immunization Months, and health officials are urging parents to check their childâ??s shot records before sending them back to school.
â??Immunizations are our way to protect our children. When kids go back to school, those are close quarter environments and those kids are standing in line and with each other all the time,â?? said Don Nicholson, a public health specialist. â??You get something started and it could spread very quickly in a system like that.â??
And while some of those vaccinations, like those for polio or measles, seem far-fetched or even unnecessary at this point, it is only those consistent vaccinations keeping the disease at bay and preventing it from becoming an issue.
â??When we had a shift recently to people not immunizing their children, we had a resurgence of things like Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Measles. Weâ??ve seen those diseases that we hadnâ??t seen as much in years,â?? said Amanda Griffin M.D., a Texas Tech Physician.
â??A parent may have not seen measles or mumps and didnâ??t even know anybody that had them. But those diseases are only a plane ride away,â?? said Nicholson.
For many parent, the difficultly of immunizations can be in keeping up with them since children often need to get multiples of one type of shot. Health care professionals suggest having a â??medical homeâ?? or â??doctorâ?? since they will have those records all in one place and be able to recommend certain vaccinations to a child. However, there are other resources such as ImmTrac, which is the Texas Immunization Registry, that parents can use to have online files of those immunizations.
â??ImmTrac does track all those vaccinations that a child has received. That way a school can pull that up and say â??Yes, all you, â??Oops, excuse me, you missed one, here, you need to have that one more!â?? explained Nicholson.
The list of recommended and required immunizations for children, both going into daycare and school, can be extensive. Parents are encouraged to ask their doctor about those immunizations, when they should be receiving them, and if they might be behind on any immunization schedules.