By John Foster, MD, West Hollywood, California
National Immunization Awareness Month is a reminder that we all need vaccines throughout our lives.
To celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life – and make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need –health care practitioners and public health partners nationwide are recognizing August as 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 John Foster, MD of the local Sunset Walk-In Healthcare and Occupational Medicine Clinic.
“If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to review what vaccines your child needs.,” said Dr. Foster.
Most schools require children to be current on vaccinations before enrolling to protect the health of all students.
Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, and whooping cough.
When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.
School-age children need vaccines. For example, children who are 4 to 6 years old are due for boosters of four vaccines: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and polio.
Older children, like preteens and teens, need Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines when they are 11 to 12. In addition, yearly flu vaccines are recommended for all children 6 months and older.
Parents can find out more about the recommended immunization schedule at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html or, if in the local WeHo area, feel free to visit www.sunsetwalk-inhealthcare.com or call 310-273-1155 for information.