Be Informed about School Immunizations
Getting your kids up to date on their immunizations can be a hot topic for parents, and it seems there is no middle ground for some. But it’s something that needs to be understood and taken seriously by all because immunizations main purpose is to protect your kids and the other kids at school from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs).
Requirements for school immunizations are regulated at the state level, so the specific vaccinations they must receive vary depending on where you live.
Here are some of the vaccinations your child may be required to receive. Most immunizations are required before your child enters kindergarten and again before they start middle school with various booster shots along the way depending on the vaccination.
- DTaP, Tdap or Td vaccine – This protects against Diphtheria, Pertussis (whooping cough) and Tetanus (lockjaw).
- Hepatitis A and B vaccines– Both the Hepatitis A and B virus can cause severe liver damage.
- Hib – This protects against a bacterium that causes meningitis.
- MMR – The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (German measles) vaccine
- Polio vaccine – Both Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) or oral polio vaccine (OPV) protects against this disease.
- Pneumococcal (PVC) – This protects against a bacteria that can cause otitis media (ear infections), pneumonia or meningitis.
- Varicella vaccine– This virus is more commonly known as chicken pox.
Just as the vaccinations required vary state to state, the ability to apply for exemptions from immunizations for your child varies as well. There are three general reasons for applying for such exemptions.
- Medical – The administration of one of the vaccines may actually be detrimental to your child’s health if they are already suffering from other medical issues. States categorize these medical exemptions as temporary or permanent.
- Religious – The administration of one or more of the vaccines goes against your religious beliefs.
- Philosophical – The administration of one or more of the vaccines goes against your personal beliefs.
Some states recognize all of these scenarios as grounds to apply for exemptions while other states do not—though exemptions for medical reasons is allowed in all states.
The CDC offers great resources for you to continue your research: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/imz-managers/laws/state-reqs.html
Staying informed can seem overwhelming, but it’s important when you’re making decisions that impact your child’s health!