As we head into the summer months, it is time to start planning for the next school year. It’s also time to get your child scheduled for their required immunizations.
Your child’s safety is always at top of mind. The same is true for school administrators. When children come together to learn it’s easier for diseases to pass. This is especially true for diseases that are highly contagious or have serious consequences. When more children in a class are vaccinated, it helps protect the kids who may not be able to be vaccinated or have weakened immune systems.
That is why there are mandatory vaccines in school districts across the country.
The Mississippi State Department of Health requires the following vaccines:
Entering school for the first time (grades Pre-K through 12th):
- DTaP – Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis
- IPV – Polio
- MMRV – Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella (Chickenpox)
- Hepatitis B – Note that this is typically given to babies and your child is likely already vaccinated
Entering 7th Grade:
- Tdap booster – Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis
Additionally, the CDC recommends the following vaccines for children:
- HPV (Human Papillomavirus) – at age 11-12
- Meningitis – at age 11-12
Schools require vaccines for some of the most contagious and deadly diseases. Because of these requirements, most children will never experience the discomfort or ill effects they cause.
Fortunately, most of these diseases are rare in the United States due to how well vaccines work. To maintain those low disease rates, it continues to be important to vaccinate children.
Why Vaccines are Required
Pediatricians and school administrators are passionate about protecting children from contagious diseases. You will see why by understanding a bit more about them.
- Diphtheria: Caused by a bacteria that produces a toxin. It can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and even death.
- Tetanus: Caused by a bacterium that is common in the environment. It usually enters the body through wounds, like punctures and even bug bites. Tetanus causes tightening of the jaw, painful muscle stiffness, seizures, and breathing difficulty.
- Pertussis: Also known as Whooping Cough, it is caused by bacteria and is very contagious. It often begins with cold-like symptoms. Later on it causes a severe cough that takes a long time to recover from. Whooping Cough is most dangerous for babies – they don’t cough but can stop breathing and turn blue.
- Measles: Caused by a highly contagious virus. Its symptoms are fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes, plus a rash that covers the entire body. Measles can lead to brain swelling that causes seizures, deafness, or intellectual disability.
- Mumps: Caused by a virus that leads to salivary gland swelling. It causes puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw. It is highly contagious and spreads easily in children that aren’t protected with vaccines.
- Rubella: Also called German measles, it causes mild symptoms like headache and pink eye. There is also a rash that starts on the face then spreads to the rest of the body.
- Varicella (Chickenpox): Caused by a highly contagious virus that causes itchy bumps. Chickenpox can be serious and lead to infection of the lungs, swelling of the brain, and bleeding problems. It can even cause death, but that is very rare now that a vaccine exists
- Polio: Caused by a virus and usually manifests with flu-like symptoms, but it can lead to severe problems like meningitis and paralysis. It can sometimes cause muscle pain, weakness, and paralysis 15-40 years later, which is known as post-polio syndrome.
Protecting the safety of their students is critical to schools. That is why there are such stringent vaccination requirements.
Vaccinations are a safe and effective way to provide children with immunity.
Schedule your child’s vaccine appointment today so that they will be ready to start school in the fall.