Home & Family
Back to School Immunizations
7/4/2018 9:54:35 PM
Vaccinations

Back-to-school is only a month away. In addition to shopping for uniforms and school supplies, you may also want to verify your child is up to date on immunizations. Children entering pre-school and 6th grade require proof of current immunizations to be admitted to school.

Immunization is the process by which a person becomes immune to a disease. When your body’s immune system develops antibodies against a disease, you develop immunity. To do that, you can either contract the disease, or get vaccinated for that disease. A vaccination stimulates your body’s natural immune system to create antibodies against the disease. "Vaccines are safe and they save lives,” says Dr. Albert W. Richert, pediatrician with The Pediatric Center of Southwest Louisiana.

For children entering pre-school, Louisiana law requires two doses of MMR, three doses of Hepatitis B, two of Varicella, and booster doses of DTaP and Polio vaccines on or after the 4th birthday and prior to school entry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Louisiana had a 97.1% vaccination rate for kindergarten children in 2017, one of the highest rates in the country. (Way to go, Louisiana!)

Dr. Richert says most children get their immunizations as part of their routine well child visits starting at age two months. "Immunizations are usually given at the two, four, six, twelve, and eighteen months visits. The next set of immunizations is given at four years of age. So people who follow the recommended schedule have everything they need for school by that four year visit.”

Sixth graders (11-12 years of age) are required one Tdap, two VAR, two MMR, three HBV, and one MCV. Dr. Richert says a child who is up to date will have already had all but meningitis (MCV) and a tetanus booster (Tdap). Usually, children need proof of a tetanus shot in order to play sports and other activities.

Pediatricians rarely see children with illnesses such as polio, diphtheria, and measles these days. "Serious infectious diseases in children are dramatically less common than any other time in history, and it is because of vaccines,” says Dr. Richert. "Now pediatricians are able to focus on things like preventive care, developmental problems, and chronic conditions such as asthma and allergies.”

Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their children from potentially harmful, even life-threatening diseases. Though not required, Dr. Richert also recommends yearly flu shots for school age children.

Vaccination Glossary

MMR 
measles, mumps, and rubella

DTaP
diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis)

Tdap
a booster of the above vaccine

VAR
varicella, aka chickenpox

HBV
hepatitis B

MCV
meningococcal diseases
Posted by: Angie Kay Dilmore | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Parenting

Share and enjoy: Del.icio.us   Digg This   Google Bookmarks   Reddit   Stumble Upon

 

© Copyright 2018, Thrive Magazine. All rights reserved.