Immunizations: Backpacks are ready … is your child? | SierraSun.com

Immunizations: Backpacks are ready … is your child?

Special to the Sun

New legislation that goes into effect July 1, 2016, requires all students entering public and private schools in California must be vaccinated.

You may have completed your back-to-school shopping, but did you make sure that your children are current with their immunizations for school?

Students entering kindergarten must be up-to-date with D-tap (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), Polio, and Hepatitis B (by 4-6 years old).

Students entering seventh grade need a T-Dap booster (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), and students entering college need a meningococcal vaccine to protect them from highly infectious meningitis.

The CDC and local pediatricians also recommend that all children receive vaccines for Hepatitis B and Hib at birth or between 2 months and 18 months, the HPV vaccine between the ages of 11 and 13 years, and an annual flu vaccine.

Did you know that Nevada County has the lowest rates for childhood immunization in the state of California? This makes our entire region vulnerable to potentially severe outbreaks of infectious disease.

When children are not vaccinated, they not only are at increased risk of getting preventable diseases but are also at risk of spreading diseases in their classrooms and their community — especially to babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems.

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It is true that some vaccine-preventable diseases have become very rare thanks to vaccines, but outbreaks still happen.

In 2014, the US reached a 20-year high measles outbreak with over 600 reported cases. And, this year, there have been more than 170 reported measles cases, the majority associated with an outbreak in California.

New legislation that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016, requires all students entering public and private schools in California must be vaccinated.

Governor Brown signed SB-277 into law in June, and this legislation has eliminated the personal belief exemption for immunizations and only allows an exemption for medical reasons (unimmunized children may be home schooled).

It's not too late to catch up if your child is missing immunizations. The CDC has develop the "Catch up Immunization Scheduler," an online tool that shows parents and healthcare providers the best options for getting children back on schedule.

Access the interactive tool for children 6 years of age and younger at http://www.vacscheduler.org and check out the catch-up schedules for birth to 18 years of age at cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules.

Immunizations are available through your health provider, Safeway, Rite Aid, and CVS Pharmacies, Tahoe Forest Health Clinic, and Nevada and Placer County Health Clinics.

If you have questions about immunizations for your child, as well as the risks and benefits of vaccinations, please talk to your health care provider.

Don't delay! Now is the time to make sure that your child has the immunizations they need to begin school.

This article was submitted by the Wellness Neighborhood, a service of Tahoe Forest Healthy System. For more information, contact Maria Martin at mmartin@tfhd.com or 530-577-3769, ext 7126. Visit tfhd.com to learn more.