SACRAMENTO — As students return to school, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges parents and guardians to ensure immunizations are on their back-to-school checklist.
Many vaccine-preventable diseases, such as whooping cough and measles, can easily spread in child care and school settings.
“Immunization can help keep our children healthy, in school and ready to learn,” Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer, said in a prepared statement. “If you haven’t done so already, check with your child’s doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs.
Vaccinations are the best way to ensure that students are protected against serious and preventable diseases.”
When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for getting sick and spreading diseases to students in their school classrooms, and children and adults within their communities. Babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions are especially susceptible.
California law requires students to receive certain immunizations in order to attend public and private elementary and secondary schools as well as licensed childcare centers. Schools and licensed childcare centers are required to enforce immunization requirements, maintain immunization records of all children enrolled, and report school students’ immunization statuses to CDPH.
Because of vaccines, some diseases (like polio and diphtheria) are becoming rare in the U.S. Vaccination can prevent certain deadly diseases in infants, children, teens, adults and travelers of all ages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Any vaccine can cause side effects, according to the CDC. For the most part these are minor (for example, a sore arm or low-grade fever) and go away within a few days.
Families that are having difficulty obtaining required immunizations prior to the start of school can contact their local health department for assistance in finding other local immunization providers.
Visit here for more information on immunization laws and required vaccinations for students in California.