October 30, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
48°F

Medical officials urge parents to vaccinate their schoolchildren

Staff and wire reports

The Ohio Department of Health and local medical officials are urging parents to make sure children are up-to-date on vaccinations to protect them and their classmates as they begin a new school year.

Dr. Hanna Lemerman, of Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics office in Medina, said getting children all of the vaccines recommended by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization schedule “is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health — and that of classmates and the community.

“If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs,” Lemerman said.

When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk 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 or other health conditions.

According to the Ohio Health Department, children who aren’t vaccinated have a higher risk of contracting and spreading illnesses such as measles and mumps.

Ohio has dealt with outbreaks of both of those diseases this year. The mumps outbreak in central Ohio stood at 479 cases as of this week, with just more than half of those cases linked to Ohio State University.

In addition, the state said 377 cases of measles have been linked to an outbreak that began in Knox County. It started with Amish people who had traveled to the Philippines, which has had a measles epidemic.

The vaccines

Most schools require children to be current on vaccinations before enrolling to protect the health of all students. Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles and whooping cough.
For example, children who are 4 to 6 years old are due for boosters of four vaccines: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and polio.
Older children, like preteens and teens, need Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines when they are 11 to 12. In addition, yearly flu vaccines are recommended for all children 6 months and older.
The complete Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization schedule is available at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html.
More information is available at the Akron Children’s Hospital video on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpfNpFax2Hg.
SOURCE: Akron Children’s Hospital