POINT OF VIEW: Back-to-school vaccinations help protect all kids

In the midst of back-to-school season, there are still plenty of loose ends to tie up as you send your little ones, preteens, and teens back into the classroom. One of the most important checklist items to complete is to ensure all of your children’s immunizations and booster shots are up-to-date.

Vaccinations are not only important for your child’s health but also for the entire community of students.

The state requires certain immunizations to attend child care facilities, preschool, and kindergarten through 12th grade. Required immunizations across all stages of childhood include DTap, IPV, MMR, chicken pox, Hib, PCV13, Hep B, and Tdap.

While there are many required immunizations, other optional and highly recommended vaccinations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the RV vaccine (rotavirus), annual flu vaccines, meningitis vaccine, and hepatitis A vaccines. Check with your child’s doctor to see what shots they are missing and eligible for.

Vaccinating your children from when they are newborns through 6 years old is vital to equip our younger generation with a strong immune system to keep them healthy. While babies and young children need vaccinations, there are also a variety of vaccines offered and recommended for preteens and teens.

Parents take many important precautions to ensure the safety of their children such as putting them in a car seat proven to be the safest, holding their hand when crossing the street, and ensuring they have three healthy meals each day. If parents are taking these precautions for the safety of their children, why would a parent take any risk of harming their child by not arming them with a lifesaving vaccination?

Vaccinations not only protect your child from life-threatening diseases such as polio but they also guard other children from them as well. Vaccinating children is safe and effective and vaccinations typically are covered by insurance.

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Parents and concerned community partners from across the state, including the Florida Parent Teacher Association (PTA), are urging you to vaccinate your children to benefit both your kids and theirs alike. We all have an obligation to give our children the tools needed to be successful and healthy — including equipping them with the appropriate vaccinations.

Before getting lost in the back-to-school frenzy, make sure to check with your child’s doctor to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations.


Editor’s note: Debbie Sawa-Szostak is the health and wellness chairwoman for the Florida Parent Teacher Association.

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