Vaccines part of back-to-school prep for students

Department of Health: It’s time to get vaccinated for back to school

Back-to-school season is upon us, and the Ohio Department of Health is encouraging parents to make sure kids are up to date on their vaccines during National Immunization Awareness Month.

“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health and that of classmates and the community,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Mary DiOrio.

“If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs, and when.”

RELATED: How many Ohio students are vaccinated?

Unvaccinated children are at increased risk for contracting vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, mumps and rubella, according to health experts. They also may spread diseases which are serious or potentially life-threatening for high-risk individuals such as infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated and others who have weakened immune systems due to other health conditions.

Last year, the I-Team found that enough parents were refusing to have their children vaccinated in some area school districts that health officials worried those communities were at risk.

Nearly 30 percent of Yellow Springs kindergartners came to school without their required shots because their parents opposed the vaccines, the most of any school district in the state.

We are digging into statewide vaccine data for the 2015-16 school year to see if vaccination rates in local districts have improved and will bring readers that story next week.

Beginning this school year, a new meningococcal vaccine requirement takes effect under Ohio law, the health department said.

All incoming seventh-graders must have one dose of the meningococcal vaccine, and all incoming seniors must have a second dose of the vaccine. More information on the meningococcal vaccine requirements can be found on the department of health’s immunization website.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Chapter and ODH suggest parents download the free “Fast Vax Facts” app, available in the App Store and on Google Play.

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