Wednesday, August 22, 2018

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…For Parents!

The temperature is (slowly) dropping, the days are getting shorter and there is a new hustle and bustle in town.  This can only mean one thing…school is about to start! If you’re like me you already have a running checklist in your head:

  •  Meet the teacher.
  • Buy school supplies.
  • Do my kids’ clothes still fit? I think they’ve grown a foot this summer…better check.
  • Soccer practice…is that tonight? Maybe it’s tomorrow? Where did I put that schedule?!

One thing I almost forgot this year was to schedule a doctor’s appointment to make sure my kids are up-to-date with all of their vaccines. I know that no one likes getting shots, especially kids, but vaccines protect our children, their classmates and the community from much scarier PREVENTABLE diseases. 

Although we as parents don’t usually want our kids to be followers, when it comes to vaccinations our family absolutely follows the herd. Let me explain. When most members of the community are immunized against an infectious disease there is just a small chance for an outbreak. Those who are not eligible for certain vaccines – such as infants, pregnant women or immunocompromised people – gain some protection because the spread of infectious disease is contained. This is known as “herd” immunity. So in short, by making sure you and your family are up-to-date with vaccines you are protecting your whole community! 

This is a full list of all NYS vaccine requirements for the 2018-2019 School Year. Here are the most common vaccines your kids will need for the school year:


Remember that herd immunity we were just talking about? Here’s a perfect example: measles were declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but officials are now investigating an outbreak that has spread to 21 states (including New York) and the District of Columbia. The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated. Although some people think of measles as just a little rash and fever that clears up in a few days, the disease can cause serious health complications, especially in children younger than 5 years of age.

Grade 6:

Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties have seen many cases of pertussis or whooping cough over the past few years, most recently this June. Pertussis is also known as “whooping cough” because of the “whooping” sound that someone makes when gasping for air after a fit of coughing. Coughing fits can last for up to 10 weeks or more; some people know this disease as the “100 day cough.” I don’t know about you but that’s not how I want to spend the next 3 months!

Grades 7, 8, 9 and 12:

Preteens and teens are at increased risk for meningococcal disease, an uncommon but serious illness that can result in permanent disabilities and even death. Over the last few years vaccine requirements have changed to protect those most at risk.

Depending where your child is in their vaccine schedule, their provider may recommend additional vaccines to make sure they are fully protected.

Prevention is key with diseases like meningococcal, whooping cough and measles. If you haven’t been to your child’s Primary Care Provider, now is the time to make that appointment! With these vaccines under their belt, our kids can concentrate on learning and all of the exciting things that the new school year has to offer. Questions? Call our Health Care Services Division at 518-565-4848.

Jacqueline Allan, Registered Professional Nurse
Health Care Services