August is National Immunization Awareness Month and the start of school is just around the corner, so it’s a great time to look up you and your child’s immunization records to make sure everyone is up to date on recommended vaccinations. When immunizations are given throughout the state of Wisconsin, they are entered into the Wisconsin Immunization Registry, so everyone can have access to their own electronic immunization record. To access this registry, visit www.dhfsWIR.org. You must provide a social security number or Medicaid ID.
Remember, if you or your child aren’t up to date or are due for a vaccine, they are very safe, as most only cause minor side effects such as soreness at the injection site or a slight fever. Serious reactions are very rare. The risks associated with the diseases that you or your child could get by not being vaccinated are far greater than the risk of a vaccine reaction. Remember, many vaccine preventable diseases are still prevalent around the world. If we stop vaccinating against these diseases, many more people will become infected.
All children should be seen by a physician for regular well child check-ups. During these visits, they will receive vaccinations to protect them against 14 preventable diseases. Wisconsin State Law requires that children are up to date on immunizations before entering school. If children are not up to date on immunizations, they can be forced to stay home from school during outbreaks, potentially missing several weeks of class. These are the specific law requirements for what immunizations are needed at different grades. For Pre-K (ages 2-4) students must have 4 DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis), 3 Polio, 3 Hepatitis B, 1 MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella), and 1 Varicella. For children entering Kindergarten through Grade 5 the requirements are 4 DTaP, 4 Polio, 3 Hepatitis B, 2 MMR, and 2 Varicella. For students entering Grade 6 through 12 the requirements are 4 DTaP, 1 Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis booster), 4 Polio, 3 Hepatitis B, 2 MMR, and 2 Varicella.
There are also some recommended adolescent vaccinations too. All children 11-12 years of age should receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to protect against certain forms of cancer. The meningococcal vaccine is also recommended for adolescents age 11-12, with a booster shot recommended at age 16. This protects against meningitis, which can be a very severe and life threatening disease. In addition, teens and adults should receive the Tdap vaccination to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). If you are an adult over the age of 60, talk to your doctor about the pneumonia and shingles vaccines.
Finally, everyone ages 6 months and older should also be receiving an annual influenza (flu) shot. Remember, getting the recommended immunizations protects you, your loved ones, and the community. Talk to your health care provider about getting up to date on vaccinations today!
Submitted by: Anna Treague, RN, Burnett County Public Health
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