For a healthy start, add routine vaccines to your child’s back-to-school checklist

It is the season of “back-to-school” checklists, and there is one task that is important to cross off: a checkup to ensure your child is caught up on their routine vaccinations. After a summer of fun, routine vaccines can help make sure your child’s immune system is well prepared to protect them from serious diseases like measles, polio and chickenpox.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 93% of kindergartners in the U.S. got their recommended routine vaccinations. While the overwhelming majority of children are getting their vaccines, the data also showed a 1 percentage point drop in vaccination coverage for the second year in a row. That means at least 250,000 kindergarteners may lack important protection from preventable childhood diseases. Now is a great time to catch up!

Parents, are you ready to get your child off to a healthy start this school year? Test your knowledge of routine childhood vaccines.

Which of the following is true about routine childhood vaccines?

Many children have missed recommended childhood vaccinations over the past few years.

True. Now is an excellent time to take your child to a well-child visit and catch up on any recommended vaccinations. CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children catch up on routine childhood vaccinations and get back on track for school, childcare and beyond.

Getting children caught up with recommended vaccinations is the best way to protect them from a variety of vaccine-preventable diseases and keep them in school and participating in other activities.

True. Children who are not protected by vaccines are more likely to get diseases like measles and whooping cough. These diseases are extremely contagious and can be very serious, even deadly. In recent years, there have been outbreaks of measles in the United States, especially in communities with low vaccination rates.

Children may qualify for no-cost vaccines.

True. The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program offers vaccines at no cost to children who qualify. In fact, more than half of American children younger than 19 years old receive VFC vaccines. Ask your doctor if your child may qualify.

Vaccines are safe and effective against preventing diseases.

True. The United States’ long-standing vaccine safety system ensures that vaccines are as safe as possible. Currently, the United States has the safest vaccine supply in its history. Millions of children safely receive vaccines each year. The most common side effects are very mild, such as pain or swelling at the injection site.

Prepare your child for a healthy start to the school year by ensuring your child is up to date on their routine vaccines. Learn more about routine childhood vaccination and schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor today.

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