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Back to School Immunizations - What to Know

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and McFarland Clinic wants to share with you information about vaccines for people of all ages. This post covers the importance of vaccines for school-aged children as they get ready for the school year.

This time of the year is a great opportunity for parents to check their child’s vaccination records to make sure they are up to date.

Required Vaccinations for School

Iowa requires school-aged children to be vaccinated for Tetanus, Diphtheria, Hepatitis-B, Polio, Measles, Rubella, Varicella (Chicken Pox). Older children may need to receive the Meningococcal vaccine as well.

Protecting Your Child Against Disease

McFarland Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Colette Lothe says vaccinations protect children from diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. These bacteria and viruses can cause a range of symptoms.

“It’s important for children to be vaccinated according to the proper (vaccine) schedule because the immunizations works in the body to provide antibodies,” Dr. Lothe said. “When we see, for example, Tetanus, our body can fight the bacteria before our body has problems.”

Daycare centers, schools and college dorms are prone to disease outbreaks. Spreading an illness is possible due to poor hand washing, not covering a cough and sneeze, or interacting in crowded places.

Vaccine Safety

Dr. Lothe says that vaccines are the best form of protection against many preventable illnesses for a child.

“It’s important that we understand vaccines are safe and effective. It’s probably one of the most highly studied areas in medicine over time,” she says.

Protecting Your Community

Without vaccinations, children are at increased risk for disease. They can also spread diseases to vulnerable communities including newborns and the elderly.

“There are some people in our community who can't be vaccinated (such as) children who have cancer and are going through chemotherapy. They can not receive vaccinations,” Dr. Lothe says.

Check with your child’s healthcare provider or school to learn more about vaccine requirements.

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