UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica is reminding families to schedule a visit with their family physician or pediatrician for necessary vaccinations while planning back-to-school shopping trips and activities.
“There are several vaccinations children are required to have before they can go back to school and others the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend,” said Dr. Denise Sur, clinical professor and director of the UCLA Family Medicine Residency in Santa Monica. All of them are important for protecting children against serious diseases such as whooping cough, a sometimes deadly illness that has reappeared in California over the past few years.”
Children entering kindergarten are required to be vaccinated for polio, chicken pox, measles/ mumps/ rubella, hepatitis B, and tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (whooping cough).
Students entering seventh grade are required to have a booster shot of the Tdap (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis) vaccine.
“Additionally, all children older than six months should receive an annual flu vaccine for additional protection,” said Sur, who is also chief of staff at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.
The CDC recommends middle and high school age children receive a vaccination to prevent catching meningococcal meningitis, a disease that’s more common among older children. In addition, to prevent certain types of cancer, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is recommended by the CDC for preteen boys and girls.
Sur advises parents to check their children’s vaccine record every year even if they’re teens, as some vaccines require occasional boosters to remain effective.
“Schools are highly susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases because students can easily transmit illnesses to one another as a result of poor hand washing, uncovered coughs and the density of school populations,” said Sur. ““When children aren’t vaccinated, they are at increased risk for diseases and can spread serious illness to others in their classrooms and community, including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated.”
“We’re all invested in keeping our children healthy to ensure they can make the most of each and every school day,” said Sur. “Vaccines are one of the easiest and most important ways we can protect them against disease.”
For more information about vaccine requirements, or to schedule an appointment, contact the UCLA Family Health Center at 310.319.4700. Information on vaccines can also be found at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules.