Has your child missed a recommended vaccination? If so, back-to-school physicals are a good time to get back on track to help protect your child’s health. They can provide a chance to catch up on any shots appropriate for your child that were missed. Importantly, most states require up-to-date vaccinations for students.
If you think your child has missed any shots, you can ask your doctor about what you can do to get your child’s vaccinations up to date. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site includes routine immunization schedules for children and adolescents that list the ages when each vaccine or series of shots is recommended to be given. It also has a Catch-Up Immunization Schedule, which guides physicians in giving delayed vaccinations. The schedules have been updated for 2008, so talk to your child’s doctor this back-to-school season. Visit cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/child-schedule.htm#catchup.
“Vaccines have great public health impact and are an important solution to help keep children healthy,” said Barbara Watson, M.D., Medical Director, Immunization Program, Division of Disease Control of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. “It is important to keep vaccinations up to date and current, but if any doses are missed, it is possible to get children caught up.”
Vaccines can help also prevent serious infectious diseases. By stimulating the immune system, vaccines bolster the body’s defense against specific infections. The CDC estimates that the current recommended vaccination program prevents millions of cases of disease among children and tens of thousands of deaths each year. That’s why it’s important for parents to discuss vaccinations with their child’s doctor so that children can receive appropriate vaccines on time. When children are not vaccinated, they may be left open to possible infection, perhaps to an infectious disease carried into the United States by someone traveling from another country.
The current recommended vaccination schedule is approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.