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Give Kids a Healthy Start to the New School Year

It’s no coincidence that August’s National Immunization Awareness Month coincides with back-to-school season. That’s because immunizations are children’s and teens’ best defense against a variety of potentially deadly diseases, and that’s why ATRIO Health Plans is reminding parents to make sure their kids are up to date on their vaccines.

Importance of Immunizations

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the reduction in deaths and illnesses associated with vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States has been described as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the first decade of the 21st century. A recent CDC analysis concluded that routine childhood vaccinations will prevent 322-million cases of disease and more than 7320,000 early deaths among children born between 1994 and 2013, representing a cost savings of $1.38 trillion.

Childhood vaccinations

There currently are 10 vaccines that are routinely administered to prevent children from contracting 14 specific diseases. These diseases are:

  • Diphtheria;
  • Hepatitis A;
  • Hepatitis B;
  • Hib disease (haemophilus influenzae type B);
  • Influenza (flu);
  • Measles;
  • Mumps;
  • Pertussis;
  • Pneumococcal disease;
  • Polio;
  • Rotavirus;
  • Rubella (German measles);
  • Tetanus (lockjaw);
  • Varicella (chickenpox).

Because children are particularly susceptible to infections, the majority of vaccines are given during the first six years of life. The recommended childhood immunization schedule, which the CDC updates annually, is:

  • Hepatitis B - First dose at birth; second dose at one-month old to two-months old; third dose between six-months old to 18-months old.
  • Rotavirus - First dose at two-months old; second dose at four-months old; third dose at six-months old.
  • Hib - First dose at two-months old; second dose at four-months old; third dose at six-months old; fourth dose at 12-months old to 15-months old.
  • DTaP (protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) - First dose at two-months old; second dose at four-months old; third dose at six-months old; fourth dose at 15-months old to 18-months old; and fifth dose at four-years old to six-years old.
  • Polio - First dose at two-months old; second dose at four-months old; third dose at six-months old to 18-months old; and booster at four-years old to six-years old.
  • Pneumococcal - First dose at two-months old; second dose at four-months old; third dose at six-months old; fourth dose at 12-months old to 15-months old.
  • MMR (protects against measles, mumps, and rubella) - First dose at 12-months old to 15-months old; second dose at four-years old to six-years old.
  • Varicella - First dose at 12-months old to 15-months old; second dose at four-years old to six-years old.
  • Influenza - One dose annually from six-months old to six-years old.
  • Hepatitis A - Two doses, administered six-months apart, between the ages of 12-months and 23 months.

For Preteens and Teens

For those between the ages of 11 and 16, four additional vaccines are recommended:

  • Influenza — Preteens and teens should get a flu vaccine annually.
  • MenACWYDesigned to protect against most types of meningococcal disease, preteens ages 11 to 12 should be vaccinated with a single dose of a quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY). A booster shot is recommended at age 16.
  • Tdap - Tdap protects adolescents against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. The DTap vaccine is given to children to guard against these same three diseases, but immunity can fade over time, and thus one "booster" dose of Tdap is recommended at ages 11 or 12.
  • HPV - To protect against HPV-related disease, it's recommended that girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 12 receive three doses of the HPV vaccine.

Before that first school bell rings, give your kids a healthy start by making sure their vaccines are current.

Sources

http://www.cdc.gov/features/infantimmunization/

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6433a1.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/0-18yrs-child-combined-schedule.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/who/teens/downloads/parent-version-schedule-7-18yrs.pdf