Department of Health stresses importance of vaccines before school starts

Beginning this school year, a new meningococcal vaccine requirement takes effect under Ohio law

Vaccination debate renewed in Sharpsville

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – Back-to-school season is just weeks away, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is urging parents and guardians to make sure that their kids are vaccinated.

To emphasize the importance of immunizations, the ODH is joining the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.

“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health and that of classmates and the community,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Mary DiOrio. “If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs, and when.”

ODH says unvaccinated children are at an increased risk for contracting vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, mumps and rubella. They also may spread diseases which are serious or potentially life-threatening for high-risk individuals such as infants and those with weakened immune systems.

Beginning this school year, a new meningococcal vaccine requirement takes effect under Ohio law. All incoming seventh graders must have one dose of the meningococcal vaccine, and all incoming 12th graders must have a second dose of the vaccine.

The CDC also recommends the vaccine for high-risk individuals and to anyone ages 16 through 23 years to provide short-term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal. More information on the meningococcal vaccine requirements can be found on ODH’s website.

The Ohio chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics ODH also suggests that parents download the free “Fast Vax Facts” app, available in the App Store and on Google Play. The app provides pediatrician-approved immunization resources.

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