Back to School: Are the kids’ vaccinations up to date?

Put vaccinations on the to-do list this back-to-school season.

  • Aug. 26, 2015 6:00 a.m.

The back-to-school season is a great time to review family vaccinations. Fraser Health is recommending families check to see if anyone needs to schedule an appointment.

Immunizations are one of the most effective preventative medical interventions available to protect children against serious vaccine-preventable diseases. However, children are not considered fully protected against vaccine preventable diseases until they have completed the recommended immunizations.

In Langley only 64 per cent of children are fully vaccinated.

Fewer than two-thirds of all seven-year-olds in the Fraser Health region have up-to-date vaccinations, according to immunization data for 2013-14.

Just 62 per cent of seven-year-olds in the region, which extends from Burnaby to Hope, have had all their vaccinations. This falls far short of the threshold for herd immunity, the term used when enough people in a community are immunized against a disease so that it has no opportunity to spread. This typically requires an 80 per cent or higher vaccination rate, depending on the disease, said Dr. Victoria Lee, chief medical health officer for Fraser Health. For highly contagious diseases such as measles, 90 per cent or higher immunization is needed.

Children between four and six years old should have up-to-date booster shots to protect against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, chicken pox and whooping cough.

Subsequent vaccinations are also received in Grades 6 and 9 at school, with periodic immunizations also recommended throughout adulthood.

To make an immunization appointment, call a family physician or local Public Health Unit.

Fraser Health’s public health teams are supporting parents in keeping up with their child’s immunization schedule, offering immunizations clinics during the evenings and on weekends. Contact a local Public Health Unit for drop-in clinic times.

For more information on vaccinations and where to get children immunized, visit http://www.fraserhealth.ca.

– With files from the Vancouver Sun

 

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