Harrisburg, Pa. -- School bells are starting to ring across the state and the Pennsylvania Department of Health is urging parents to make sure children are fully vaccinated before they head back to the classroom.
"Delaying your children's vaccinations creates a very real and unnecessary risk for them to become infected and possibly spread preventable, contagious diseases to others," Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy said. "Vaccines help protect our children against 14 diseases that can be very serious – or even deadly. Immunizing children against preventable diseases will also keep them in class and help us create healthy schools that teach."
Children in grades K-12 need the following immunizations for attendance: tetanus, diphtheria, polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), hepatitis B, and chickenpox. Children entering the seventh grade also need additional immunizations of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV) and tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap).
The department regularly schedules immunization clinics year round throughout the state. Individuals may call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) any time to get more information.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), which serves as another timely reminder for everyone to keep up-to-date on their vaccines. NIAM's goal is to increase awareness about the importance of immunizations for people of all ages.
"Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives, not just when we're children," Murphy added. "Protection received from vaccines during childhood can wear off with time. In addition, many adults do not receive the recommended vaccines, leaving themselves and their loved ones unnecessarily vulnerable to serious diseases. Adults should ask their health care provider if they are due for any recommended vaccines."
For more information, visit www.dontwaitvaccinate.pa.gov or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).