Is your child up-to-date on his shots?

Published 12:02 am Friday, August 7, 2015

Local school nurses are urging students to get vaccinated before school starts within the next two weeks.

Andalusia and Opp city schools start the school year on Monday, while Covington County schools begin on Aug. 17.

Andalusia City School System Nurse Melinda Carrasco said it’s state mandated that students receive vaccinations prior to starting school.

“The students that are entering the sixth grade, or are 11 years old, are required to have the DTaP booster,” Carrasco said.

The DTaP booster protects from the same diseases shots protect little kids from, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DTaP stands for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

“Those are serious diseases and are easily preventable,” Carrasco said.

Vaccines contain the same antigens (or parts of antigens) that cause diseases, according to the CDC. The measles vaccine contains the measles virus, but the antigens in vaccines are either killed or weakened to the point that they don’t cause disease. The antigens are strong enough to make the immune system produce antibodies that lead to immunity.

Additional state-required vaccinations are for polio, Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib), varicella vaccine for chicken pox and the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, Carrasco said.

Dosing amounts for each vaccine are different, Carrasco said.

“The diphtheria requires five doses, and polio requires four doses,” she said. “Two doses of MMR, and the Hib is four doses up to age of five. The chicken pox varicella requires two doses.”

Carrasco said the vaccine’s dose amounts are over the life span of a child.

“In my opinion, immunizations are one of the greatest medical achievements ever,” Carrasco said. “It saves lives.”

Carrasco said the school system will work with any students or parents who need information on updating their child’s immunization records.

“They need to go ahead and schedule an appointment if they haven’t already,” she said. “They need to bring a temporary immunization record or an updated record.

“Vaccines not only protect the students, but those around them,” she said.