Department Of Health Offers Back To School Vaccines

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

Department Of Health Offers Back To School Vaccines

August 8, 2013 Updated Aug 8, 2013 at 12:49 PM EDT

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (21Alive) -- Back-to-school time is when parents gather supplies and make sure kids are up-to-date on vaccines. The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is making it easy to do both.

To celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life – and make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need – the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is proudly participating in National Immunization Awareness Month.

For the rest of this week and next, the Department of Health will be providing free school supplies such as crayons, pencils, highlighters, and jump drives to all school-aged children who receive a vaccination.

“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 Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan. “If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs.”

School-aged children are required in Indiana to be current on vaccinations before enrolling in school to protect the health of all students. These vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough and chickenpox.

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), MCV (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines when they are 11 or 12. In addition, yearly flu vaccines are recommended for all children 6 months and older.

Beginning this school year, all Indiana students in kindergarten through 12th grade will need two doses of varicella (chickenpox vaccine).

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 and other health conditions.

Parents can find out what vaccinations their child may need or make an appointment with the Department of Health by calling (260) 449-7514.

For more information, go to www.allencountyhealth.com or visit their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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