As the 2016-2017 school year is fast approaching, August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) is highlighting the importance and benefits of immunizations.
Dr. Hiram Polk, commissioner of KDPH, said immunizations protect the health of children, and help to possibly decrease the spread of diseases.
“Vaccines are a requirement for school entry and help protect the health of children and that of their classmates and their community,” Polk said. “When children are not vaccinated, they could be at risk of disease and can possibly spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community.”
Chris Crum, executive director of the Greenup County Health Department, said immunizations have multiple benefits.
“As students start back to school, we need to bring attention to the value of immunizing our communities. The vaccinations help keep children in their seats by reducing absences and help our school systems save money by keeping kids at school. Everyone knows that healthy children at school every day are able to learn better. Be wise and immunize for everyone’s sake,” Crum said.
Vaccines help protect against serious diseases such as chickenpox, flu (influenza), hepatitis, measles, meningitis, mumps, polio and whooping cough (pertussis). Protection received from childhood vaccines decreases over time. Preteens, teens and adults may need to be revaccinated, even if they were completely vaccinated as children, according to KDPH.
Parents can find out more about providing the best protection by following the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended immunization schedule for persons age birth through 18 years at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/child-adolescent.html.
For more information about immunizations, contact the KDPH Health’s Immunization Program at 502-564-4478 or a local health department or healthcare provider.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.