Back to School Vibes: Why Immunize?
With the inevitable return of local community children back to school this fall comes the rising concern of many parents: will my child get sick again this year? Will they be safe when they leave home and go back to school? As backpacks go flying off store shelves and crayons, pencils, and pens are neatly tucked away awaiting the return of fall, parents’ hesitancy and internal struggle surrounding vaccination for their children remain ever-present. Never before has there been a time when the choice to vaccinate our children was more confusing, debated, or polarizing. As a result, many parents find themselves wondering if what they are doing is in the best interest of their child when they return to the classroom in August. Many parents also find themselves wondering, have I done enough to ensure my child is ready for another school year?
Vaccines are proven tools that have been shown time and time again to protect children, and hopefully eliminate life-threatening infectious diseases. Largely due in part to the COVID-19 virus, a new survey has emerged which reveals that parent’s agreement with mandatory vaccinations for children to attend public school has declined from 82% in the year 2016 to roughly seven out of every ten (70%) in the year 2023. With this rise in the choice not to vaccinate, has come the re-emergence of several preventable childhood diseases and the risk for disease outbreaks has now reached a 30-year high. Despite the efficacy demonstrated by several landmark studies that vaccination ensures herd immunity and protection from preventable diseases, opposition to vaccination remains widespread.
Routine vaccination is essential to provide immunity for potentially life-threatening diseases before your child returns to school this fall. Vaccines have been rigorously tested to ensure that they are safe for your child to receive at the recommended ages. The CDC offers several online-published resources to ensure your child receives the correct vaccines to attend public school this year. This can easily be checked at the following URL: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html. In addition to routine childhood immunization, it is also recommended that all children ages six months and older receive COVID-19 and Influenza vaccinations as appropriate in order to protect them from these viruses. The United States currently has the safest supply of vaccines in its history and millions of children every year safely receive the recommended vaccinations to attend school. Help protect your child from preventable disease this year as they return to school and ensure they are the safest they can be!
Emily Schrick, APRN-CNP
DRH Children’s Clinic