August 31, 2001

Back to School Means Checking Child's Shot Record

Children Need Proof of Several Immunizations Before They Can Attend School

With school starting soon, parents have lots to get done like buying back-to-school clothes and school supplies. But there's one vital step parents must take if they want their children to start school on time: make sure kids meet the school shot requirements.

"This is a busy time of year for parents, with lots of things to remember," said Dr. George Flores, Public Health Officer for the county's Health and Human ServiceAgency. "We want to remind moms and dads that without proof of required immunizations, their children will not be able to attend school - that's the law."

The reason for the law is straightforward. Children who don't have the required immunizations are vulnerable to many serious diseases, like pertussis (whooping cough), measles and hepatitis. These diseases can make children very ill, or even kill them.

"It's important to know that there is a new school immunization requirement this year for children to be protected against varicella (chicken-pox)," Dr. Flores added.

Parents of older kids should know that a second MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and a series of hepatitis B immunizations have been required for 7th graders and some college students since 1999. Also, students starting college this fall will want to contact their doctor and discuss whether a meningitis shot is recommended.

To be sure children are fully protected, parents should call their child's health care provider and ask to have their child's immunization record checked for missing shots. They can also call the Baby Shots Line at (619) 692-6600 during business hours to review the shot record with a nurse.

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