LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is reminding parents to check their children's immunization records and get necessary vaccines before school starts. Parents are also encouraged to get a few vaccines themselves.
Parents can check with their doctor or the local health unit to see if their kids' shots are up to date.
- Seventh graders must have one dose of vaccine to prevent tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap vaccine).
- Kindergarten children must have two doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine even if they have already had chickenpox.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that vaccines have wiped out smallpox, put an end to polio virus in the U.S. and greatly reduced the number of cases of measles, diphtheria, rubella, pertussis and other diseases. However, people still die from these and other diseases that vaccines can prevent.
The ADH says all adults should have these vaccines:
- Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) – one dose is recommended after age 18
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). If you were born after 1957 and have never had measles, mumps or rubella vaccine, you are at risk of infection.
Side effects from these diseases are often more severe for adults than for children. By getting the vaccine, the ADH says you can avoid doctor bills and not miss time at work.
Local Health Units provide limited immunization services for adults, so contact your local county health unit for more information.
For a complete schedule of adult vaccines visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/adult-schedule.htm