School’s out for the summer, but with the new school year just around the corner, many students will need immunizations. Colorado students are required to have a number of immunizations for school attendance. Parents are urged to avoid the last-minute rush and make appointments now for needed vaccinations before the school year begins.
“We want to see kids appropriately immunized with all of their required immunizations in preparation for school, so that registration goes smoothly and attendance is assured. Colorado parents can avoid the stress of trying to get into a health care provider’s office at the last minute by taking care of immunization needs now,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, interim deputy director for disease control and environmental epidemiology at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Specific immunizations are required for children entering childcare, pre-school, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, and for children in other grades enrolling in a Colorado school for the first time. For a list of required immunizations, visit http://www.immunizeforgood.com. Questions about school policies on when or how immunization certificates must be provided should be directed to local schools.
Full-time college students in Colorado also are required to have immunizations. It’s especially important for this age group to ensure immunization against meningococcal disease.
“Getting vaccinated is a safe and simple way to protect us all from potentially deadly diseases,” said Dr. Herlihy “Vaccination also helps ensure students don’t miss important classroom time due to preventable illnesses, and that parents don’t have to miss work to care for sick children.”
Vaccines prevent disease from occurring rather than treating existing illnesses. High rates of routine vaccination in the United States protect the population from diseases, such as measles, that still are common in other countries. The diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP) immunization for young children and tetanus, diptheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) booster for adolescents are especially important given the resurgence of pertussis, or whooping cough, in Colorado and the United States.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment supports and promotes all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for childhood, adolescent and adult vaccinations as an important primary prevention measure to protect public health.
Immunizations required for school are available from a variety of health care providers, including local health departments. Children may be eligible to receive free vaccine through the Vaccines For Children program. For more information, go to www.coloradoimmunizations.com and click on the Vaccines for Children tab on the left-hand bar.
Parents with insurance coverage for their children should contact their child’s primary care provider to get immunizations. Due to the Affordable Care Act, childhood immunizations required for school attendance are typically fully covered by private insurance policies. To avoid an office visit fee, parents need to indicate their visit is for the purpose of obtaining vaccinations.