Besides new backpacks and shoes, parents should be thinking about back-to-school immunizations and well-visit check-ups as summer comes to a close. Some kids have gotten behind in their regular vaccinations, but now is a great time to catch up.
“We don’t know what a new school year may bring,” said Tamara Sheffield, MD, medical director for preventive medicine for Intermountain Healthcare. “We do know that vaccines have helped safely protect children for decades, to the point that many of diseases like mumps or measles are rarely seen now.”
“Your pediatrician can help you find what you need,” said Dr. Sheffield. “Vaccines are also available from your local health department. Even if you don’t have insurance, the Vaccines for Children Program is available to those who qualify.”
Dr. Sheffield said children can be protected from the following diseases through vaccination:
- Influenza (flu)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Hepatitis A and B
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB)
- Neisseria meningitidis
In addition to school required vaccines, the HPV vaccine is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for kids between the age of 9 and 12 years old to prevent six different types of cancer. Influenza and COVID vaccines help protect against severe respiratory viruses that spread around the community during the school year.
“Your child’s well-check can be a time to catch-up on missing vaccines, as well as a time to review developmental assessments, vision and blood pressure screenings, important mental health screenings, and other guidance critical to a child’s health and growth,” said Dr. Sheffield.
“We insist on seat belts, helmets, and other safety precautions for our children to keep them safe,” Dr. Sheffield added. “Vaccines are just one more way we work to keep our children healthy and safe.”
For more information, visit https://intermountainhealthcare.org/services/pediatrics/.