There’s been a lot of controversy about getting kids vaccinated in recent years but there’s no question on which side of the debate State of North Carolina health officials fall – they say absolutely get your kid vaccinated. On Friday, Aug. 9, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCHHS) sent a strong message to the public: Get your kid immunized properly before sending the child into a school with a bunch of other kids.
This year the Immunization Branch of the Division of Public Health is working with the NC Pediatric Society and the NC Academy of Family Physicians for a month-long awareness campaign to help ensure that school-age children get properly vaccinated.
August is Immunization Awareness Month in the state – it’s a month meant to highlight the importance of vaccines and immunizations.
NCHHS is telling parents to make absolutely certain their child is up to date on vaccines before the first day of the 2019-2020 school year.
Dr. Kelly Kimple, the chief of the Women’s and Children’s Health Section of the NC Division of Public Health, stated in the Aug. 9 NCHHS press release that getting kids vaccinated helps the entire public.
“Vaccines are key to keeping everyone healthy, from infants to older adults, and helping prevent the spread of diseases in our communities,” Kimple said.
According to state health officials, children need alldoses of all age-appropriate vaccines in the recommended schedule for their age groups.
For instance, preteens who are ages 11 and12, should get these four vaccines:
- Meningitis Vaccine (MCV4), which protects against some bacteria that cause meningitis and other diseases.
- Tetanus Shot (Tdap), which helps prevent tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
- HPV Vaccine, which protects against human papillomavirus infection and cancers.
- And the Flu Shot, which is, of course, meant to protect against various strains of Influenza.
The press release states: “If your child does not receive the recommended doses, your child and individuals in the community are vulnerable to serious diseases. Check with your child’s doctor to find out if he or she is due for any vaccinations.”
The release also reminds parents that, in North Carolina, vaccination records are checked when a child enters a childcare facility or a school, and that those kids who haven’t obtained the required immunizations on the first day of attendance may be excluded from any school — either public, private or religious — unless they’ve received immunizations or have a valid, documented exemption or proof of immunity.
State health officials are also reminding everyone right now that, as children move into their preteen and teen years, they become more susceptible to certain diseases – making it especially important at that age to stay current on their immunizations.
More information, including a list of all the required North Carolina school immunizations, from K-12, is available at www.immunize.nc.gov/family.
Parents should also note that there’s a coming change in the law for the 2020–2021 school year: Effective Aug. 1, 2020, a booster dose of MCV4 will be required at age 16 and before entering the 12th grade. Depending on risk factors, some teens may also need what’s known as a “Serogroup B” vaccine.
Dr. Susan Mims, the president of the NC Pediatric Society said this month that it’s not difficult at all to get the proper vaccinations for your kid.
“You can use any health care visit, including for sports or camp physicals, school health assessments, checkups and sick visits to have your preteen or teen vaccinated,” Mims said. “Talk with your pediatrician or health care professional to know what vaccinations are due and make sure your kids are protected.”