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Remember to include vaccines in back-to-school preparations

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Free immunization clinics

Placer County offers free back-to-school immunization clinics for children without access to vaccines.

Children who are uninsured or have Medi-Cal can attend two free clinics:

* Aug. 8, from 3 to  6 p.m. @the Grounds - Johnson Hall,
800 All America City Blvd., Roseville

* Aug. 16, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Community Development Resource Center - Cypress Room, 3091 County Center Drive, Auburn.


Summer break is rapidly winding down for students.

While it might be hard to believe, public school starts within days.

The first day of classes in Lincoln is Aug. 16, Loomis is Aug. 14 for high school and Aug. 16 for the other grades, Rocklin is Aug. 15 and Roseville is an early Aug. 9.

While students are now busy shopping for new school supplies, many parents are making sure that their children are current on their vaccinations.

As parents should.

California law requires kindergartners and seventh-graders to be current on their shots if they attend public and private elementary and secondary schools, childcare centers, family daycare homes, nursery schools, day nurseries and developmental centers.

Under California Senate Bill 277, exemptions from vaccines based on personal beliefs are no longer an option. Most families are not affected by the 2016 law because their children receive all required vaccinations, according to the Loomis Union School District website.

California’s required school vaccines are to prevent polio; diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough; measles, mumps and rubella; Hepatitis B; and chickenpox.

It’s to keep kids healthy, which is what parents want at all times.

Parents who don’t vaccinate their children increase the risk of disease for their children and also for area children and adults, according to the California Department of Public Health and the Placer County Public Health Department.

While the majority of Placer County parents keep up with their children’s vaccinations, some parents don’t want their children vaccinated. The parents say that multiple vaccines overwhelm an infant’s immune system; natural infection is better than immunization; vaccine ingredients are harmful; abortions are required to produce vaccines; and/or immunizations and autism is linked together.

But science does not support any of the above common vaccine concerns expressed by a small percentage of parents, according to the Placer County Public Health Department.

Instead, vaccines help prevent diseases and help keep children of all ages healthy.

Making sure children get their routine shots on time gives them a healthy start to life, according to Wendy Taylor, who supervises the county’s Public Health Department’s communicable disease and immunization programs.

Vaccinations usually spare children from the debilitating, life-threatening diseases.

Experts say that immunization rates above 95 percent are considered ideal for protecting the public from an outbreak. So schools with low vaccination rates are at increased risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

The Placer County Public Health Department reports that 92 percent of county kindergartners had all their vaccinations in 2018. In 2017, 97 percent of all Placer County seventh-graders had all required school vaccinations.

“We have seen increased disease incidence in vaccine-preventable diseases in the past, particularly for pertussis (whooping cough). Tdap is the vaccine that prevents pertussis,” Taylor said. “Vaccines are not 100-percent effective all the time but they do prevent disease in the majority of recipients. For those who still contract the disease after being immunized, the severity and duration are typically diminished.”

More boosters and vaccines are recommended for preteens and teens, including Tdap, MCV4, HPV and flu.

It’s easy to make sure your children are vaccinated. Just call their doctor’s office.

With the start of school, this is a great reminder to check that your children are up to date with their shots. Their health depends on it.