Back-to-school prep should include vaccinations


Staff report



COLUMBUS — Members of the Immunization Advocacy Network of Ohio (IANO) encourage parents and guardians to review their child’s health records and schedule appointments for any needed immunizations. Vaccine providers are warning parents and guardians that waiting until classes start could make it difficult to make an appointment with their child’s pediatrician or primary care provider.

“The amount of time a student spends in the classroom is directly linked to their academic success. Unfortunately, preschools, schools and colleges are ideal settings for disease to spread due to close contact, poor hand washing and not covering faces when coughing or sneezing,” said Joan Hlinomaz, MS, BSN, RN, LSN, NCSN, president of the Ohio Association of School Nurses. “Without vaccines, children are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their playgroups, child care centers, classrooms and communities. Vaccines protect children’s health, prevent school absence and save parents from missed workdays.”

The State of Ohio requires certain vaccinations before entering the school year:

  • Children entering kindergarten must be vaccinated for polio, chicken pox, measles/mumps/rubella, hepatitis B, and diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis.
  • Students entering the 7th grade in Ohio are required to have an age appropriate dose of meningococcal vaccine and a booster shot of the Tdap vaccination (Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis).
  • Ohio 12th graders are also required to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease.

Parents and guardians should speak with their healthcare provider about all the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), not just those mandated for school attendance. College students should get a flu shot and be vaccinated against Meningitis Type B, in addition to a Meningitis vaccine for strains ACWY. While the MenB vaccine may not be required by your child’s college or university, it is a serious disease that most often occurs on college campuses and each case is life threatening.

Vaccinations are available at a variety of locations including offices of healthcare providers, public health departments, community clinics, and community and many retail pharmacies.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This awareness month highlights the need for improving national immunization coverage levels and encourages all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases. For more information about NIAM, visit their website at https://bit.ly/2Oh6Y1Q.

Staff report