Local health officials reminding parents of back-to-school immunizations for children

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CANTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — August is National Immunization Awareness Month.

This month of awareness draws attention to the importance of recommended immunizations. Local health officials are urging all children and adults to stay up-to-date on these requirements.

According to St. Lawrence County Public Interim Public Health Director Jolene Munger, National Immunization Awareness Month is held annually in August to coincide with back-to-school immunizations. In New York State there is a list of immunizations all children are required to have prior to returning to school each fall.

Depending on the age of the child, this includes Diphtheria and Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Mumps and Rubella, Hepatitis B, Chickenpox, Meningococcal conjugate, Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate and Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine. Most of these vaccines are required to be administered in the child’s early years, some coming in several doses.

Parents and guardians of children are required to have these completed 14 days before the start of the school year. Munger shared more on how these immunizations protect the safety of young children.

“Once the kids are back in school, they’re playing, without the immunizations, if one of these diseases were to come into the school, a lot of them can spread very, very quickly,” Munger said.

In light of recent COVID-19 spikes in the region, these required immunizations may serve as an additional measure of preventing a severe case of the coronavirus.

“Having one illness along with COVID can make your symptoms just even worse,” Munger warned. “Our hope and goal with COVID is to get everybody, even if you do contract COVID, that you’ll have a mild case of it. And that’s what we’re aiming for with the vaccinations with COVID is to have milder symptoms.”

But the month does not only focus on children. Munger went on to urge all adults to receive recommended vaccines. This includes Tetanus, Measles Varicella and the Hepatitis A vaccines.

“The big thing is, you know, make sure that you are up-to-date on your tetanus. That is when you should be getting a booster every 10 years. So we want to keep awareness of the ones that are out there, especially Hepatitis and the pneumococcal, those are also important,” Munger added.

St. Lawrence Public Health is currently hosting immunization clinics every Monday and Wednesday to prepare local students for the upcoming school year. To make an appointment, call the Public Health Office.

More information on recommended immunizations can be found on local public health websites and a full list of required immunizations for students in New York State can be found on the Immunyze website.

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