The school year is nearly upon us; the first day of school for Clark County School District students is Monday, Aug. 14. With the hustle and bustle of buying school clothes, getting supply lists, registering for classes, getting bus routes and more, immunizations are the last thing on parent’s minds. But, they shouldn’t be.
Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the most important things parents can do to help protect their children’s health—and that of their classmates and their community. Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox.
“Thanks to vaccines, most of these diseases have become rare in the United States,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, CDC Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “But many still exist here, and they can make children very sick, leading to many days of missed school, missed work for parents, and even hospitalization and death.”
Don’t wait to vaccinate
All childhood immunizations, including those required for school, are available all year long and there is no need for parents to wait until the school year is set to begin. The Southern Nevada Health District is gearing up for the back-to-school rush; however, staff recommends that parents don’t put off bringing their children in for required school shots. Lines get longer as the first day of school approaches.
“Children will not be able to enroll in or attend school if they have not received their immunizations,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Southern Nevada Health District Chief Health Officer. “We’re recommending that parents, especially those who are new to Nevada, review their children’s records. The chickenpox and hepatitis A vaccinations are not required in all states, but they are required here, plus there are new vaccines for 7th graders.” Nevada 7th graders are required to have a pertussis – whooping cough – booster as well as the immunization to protect against Neisseria meningitidis (meningitis).
Vaccines save lives
According to the CDC, there were between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough since 2010; up to 20 babies die each year in the United States and most of these are due to the fact that the babies are too young to be protected by their own vaccination. When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk of disease 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.
Vaccines protect babies and children against potentially serious diseases. Parents should discuss their children’s immunization status at every doctor’s visit. In addition, parents can check the immunization records for their children if they were immunized in Nevada by accessing Nevada WebIZ, a statewide immunization registry. Go to https://izrecord.nv.gov/public/Application/PublicPortal or call Nevada WebIZ at (1-877) 689-3249.
Our Chief Health Officer is passionate about the importance of vaccines. Watch him get animated as he talks about back-to-school immunizations!