Immunize Children Before School

About 75-percent of the country's toddlers get vaccinated on time.

Washoe County toddlers closely follow those national statistics - school enrollment hopes to capture those kids who fall outside the guidelines.

Today I show you what you need to know when it comes to being up-to-date on your child's immunization before the school year gets underway.

Its estimated one of every four children here in Washoe County is missing a shot or two. The school year officially gets underway in two weeks - which is one way kids can catch up on immunizations.

Its one of the busiest times of year here at the Washoe County Health
District. With school starting for many kids less than three weeks
away, many parents and their kids are having to wait in line for
immunizations they need to get into class.

Jessica Cleveland will be a senior this year at North Valley's High.
She just found out she needs a Hepatitis A shot. "And I was current with all my shots except that one," she said.

Jessica's scenario is not uncommon here, which is why you can expect at least a two-hour wait at the health district for required

"Back to school is our busiest time of year and August is national immunization awareness month too," says Janet Ford of the immunization program.

Many students who come here from other parts of the country are
surprised to find they need a Hepatitis A and B shot - and this year the district requires a Chicken Pox Vaccine for students entering the district for the first time.

That's one reason for the wait, but often times parents find they are behind on their child's immunization schedule.

"The schools are very strict with requirements so, your child could be excluded if he or she doesn't get that second dose or doesn't get that third dose that is due down the line," Ford says.

She says if you come to the Health Department, be sure to bring your child's current health records.

You might also want to bring a book, a snack and simple activities for your child.

The health department has extended its hours to meet demand for

From now until August 27th . . . Monday, Wednesday, and Friday only the immunization clinic will be open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.

There are other clinics not affiliated with the health department which also offer immunizations.

We have a link for you on our "links" page directly to the Centers for Disease Control Web site for a complete immunization schedule for your child.

Additional Resources for Childhood

* St. Mary's Nell Redfield Health Center - 770-3780
* St. Mary's Sun Valley Children's Clinic - 674-KIDS (5437)
* Orvis Nursing Center - 327-5000
* Health Access Washoe County (HAWC) - 329-6300
* St. Mary's Health & Wellness 770-7100 Extended Web Coverage

What immunizations do your children need?

  • Hep B - A vaccine to protect against Hepatitis B virus.
    • Hepatitis B is a viral disease that causes acute and chronic liver damage.
    • It is transmitted by contact with the blood of an infected person
    • The American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control recommend immunizing against this disease during infancy

  • DTap - A vaccine to protect against diptheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough).
    • Diphtheria is a serious, and treatable, infection that can cause severe respiratory illness.
    • Tetanus is a bacterium in nature that can cause serious, but usually treatable, paralysis when allowed to fester in a deep and dirty wound.
    • Pertussis is transmitted just like a cold, and causes 1-3 months of severe coughing fits.

  • Hib - A vaccine to protect against Haemophilus influenzae b, a major cause of meningitis.
    • Hib is a common bacterium that causes severe blood and bone infections and meningitis in young children.
    • It is transmitted by close contact or like a cold.
    • This vaccine is among the safest and most effective of the vaccines.

  • Polio/IPV - Vaccines to protect against polio.
    • Polio is a virus that can cause permanent paralysis.
    • Due to vaccination, there have not been any naturally occurring cases of polio in the U.S. since the 1970's, although it is still present in Africa.

  • MMR - A vaccine to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles).
    • Measles is a viral benign illness causing fever, cold symptoms and rash.
    • Mumps is generally a benign illness in children causing swelling of the salivary glands in the cheeks, sore throat and fever.
    • Outbreaks of Mumps do occur in the U.S., but there are less than 1000 cases per year.
    • Rubella is a mild viral illness causing fever and rash.
    • Rubella can cause birth defects if a pregnant women contracts the illness for the first time.

  • Var - A vaccine to protect Varicella (chicken pox).
    • Advantages to getting the vaccine is that it is 85 percent effective in preventing your children from having to go through this very uncomfortable illness
    • The illness tends to be milder in vaccinated children
    • You avoid the extremely rare but life-threatening complications of the illness (approximately 40 normal, healthy children die each year in the U.S. from chickenpox – this is about 1 in 70,000 cases)
    • This vaccine may protect against adult shingles (a form of chickenpox)
    • There are also disadvantages to the vaccine, chickenpox is usually mild for children, but it can be very dangerous for adolescents and adults. Since the vaccine may wear off later in life, a booster may be required for adults.
    • Getting this illness as a child provides excellent lifetime immunity.
    • Catching chickenpox during pregnancy can be very harmful to the fetus or newborn baby. Getting the illness during childhood virtually insures protection from this.

  • Hep A - A vaccine to protect against Hepatitis A virus.
    • This viral disease is very mild in infants and children. Two-thirds of infants and children who catch this disease won't even show any symptoms at all.
    • This disease is transmitted when an infected person's hands are contaminated by their stool while going to the bathroom, and not thoroughly washing their hands.
    • Although this is a very mild disease in children, it is now recommended to get this vaccine during childhood (as early as age wo)

  • These childhood diseases pose a threat to any child who is not fully immunized.

  • Keep your child's updated immunization record in a safe place. It is an important family document and lifetime record. It will be needed for day care, school and college entry.

  • Bring your child's immunization record to each visit, and ask your doctor to see if your child is due for any immunizations.

  • If your child has received immunizations from other doctors or hospitals, bring that information to your doctor so your child's record can be updated.

  • If you change doctors or move, get copies of your child's medical records to take to your new provider.

    Source: Web Reports