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Back to School – Add Booster Vaccines to the List

The kindergarten supply list seems endless, glue, crayons, scissors, paper, markers and tissues for runny noses. They schools need to add to the kindergarten and 7th grade supply list “Booster Vaccines” by the first day of school! Parents are accustomed to immunizing their babies and toddlers and have 4 plus years until the first day of Kindergarten and then with the excitement of registration, screenings and buying supplies, the booster vaccines are forgotten let alone what vaccines a 7th grader needs.

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Children, of all grades including college level classes, when enter the school building on the 1st day of school are not only overwhelmed with new routines, books and friends they are definitely not aware of the new germs (most are harmless) residing everywhere in the buildings, on the buses and on new friends. The human body with its magnificent skin cover and protective body systems battle foreign germs daily, and we remain healthy. The body’s magnificent protective system can breakdown, causing a simple cold or more serious diseases when overwhelmed and the vaccine immunity has decreased.

The Center for Disease Control and The Ohio Department of Health has seen steady increase cases of Pertussis or “Whooping Cough”, which is a vaccine preventable bacteria whose symptoms in the early stage resemble a cold with a bad cough. The cough can be misdiagnosed as bronchitis, that after several days the cough will become so serious that can cause the child or adult to vomit or lose his breath. Sometimes parents will hear a high-pitched crowing (the whoop) when the child or adult is trying to inhale with coughing spell. Transmission of Pertussis is very contagious and is spread by droplets, expelled from the mouth during the forcefully cough, the droplets are in the cough’s direct spray, which land on surfaces and easily attach on the unsuspecting bystander hand’s. People in direct line of the cough spray are also at risk via breathing in the droplets. Parents must seek medical help immediately for the child and same for adults for coughs remaining after few days or worsen. Parents must notify schools, any play groups or organizations the child is in after diagnosis for possible exposure. The child/adult is prescribed antibiotics by the physician, who will most likely prescribe antibiotics for immediate family members and close contacts to help stop the transmission of Pertussis. Vaccines lose their ability to fight these bacteria and viruses over time in our bodies, thus the need of booster vaccines given at recommended time frames. Plus always remember cover your cough, wash your hands well frequently and keep all vaccinations up to date.

The Ohio Department of Health released as of August 15, 2010, the following school entry vaccine requirements. All children entering or repeating the following grades:

Kindergarten

  • Dtap (contains pertussis vaccine) tetanus booster – 5 doses (unless the 4th dose was given after age 4)
  • Polio – 4 doses
  • Hepatitis B – 3 doses
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) – 2 doses
  • Varicella (chicken pox) – 2 doses
7th Grade
  • Tdap (contains pertussis vaccine) tetanus booster (unless received a tetanus booster in the last two years).
College entry required vaccines will vary with each college or university, many schools are requiring new students to have had a tetanus booster in the last several years, 2 MMRs, proof of chicken pox or vaccination, and meningitis vaccine. Many fields of study will also require 3 doses of Hepatitis B vaccine. The Galion City Health Department highly recommends parents and students review the college’s admission packet as soon as it arrives and get the needed vaccines way before leaving home. Many colleges and universities offer vaccines at the on campus medical centers, but the vaccines maybe quite costly.
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