Back to school is the perfect time to make sure children are up to date on their vaccines. Getting all of the recommended vaccines is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health.

When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their classroom and community – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions. Schools are highly susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases because students can easily transmit illnesses to one another as a result of poor hand washing, uncovered coughs and dense populations.

Children age 4 to 6 are due for boosters of four vaccines: 

  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis)
  • Chickenpox 
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) 
  • Polio 

Starting at 11 or 12, preteens and teens need:

  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria,pertussis)
  • MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) 
  • HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccines. 

A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for all children 6 months and older.

Many parents have never witnessed the damaging effects of a vaccine-preventable disease. As a result, they are not aware of the continued importance of getting all children vaccinated.

Diseases like measles are only a plane ride away. Measles epidemics are occurring in the Philippines with nearly 32,000 cases as of April 20, 2014.

Vaccines are among the safest and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease. Protecting your children from preventable diseases will help keep them healthy and in school.

When a child comes down with a disease such as whooping cough, chickenpox or the flu, he or she may miss a lot of school while recovering. Somebody will need to stay home to provide care and make trips to the doctor.

If you haven’t already, check your child’s immunization record and schedule a visit to their physician or clinic. Most schools require children to be up-to-date on vaccinations before enrolling or starting school in order to protect the health of all students.

Take advantage of any visit to the doctor – checkups, sick visits, even physicals for sports or college – to ask the doctor about what vaccinations your child needs.

Check the childhood immunization schedule for all recommended vaccines for ages 7 to 18.