The recent reappearance of polio in some communities in the Northeast serves as an important reminder to parents to keep up with their child’s vaccinations–especially with a new school year now under way.
“Vaccines are key to keeping everyone in the family healthy, from infants to school children and from teens to older adults, and to preventing the spread of serious diseases in our communities,” said Jennifer A. Janco, M.D., a pediatrician with St. Luke’s University Health Network.
To be fully immunized, children need all doses of all vaccines recommended for their age group. If your child does not receive all the recommended doses, your child and your family members are vulnerable to being infected with serious diseases, Janco said.
Parents can check the online SLUHN portal or call their pediatrician’s office to find out whether their child is due for any vaccinations or booster shots, and schedule an appointment if necessary. Due to the COVID pandemic, a number of children fell behind on their vaccinations and now is the perfect time to get them caught up, Janco said.
While Pennsylvania is one of only 15 states that allows for philosophical exemption to vaccines for school entry, Janco said she agrees with the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s recommendations for parents or guardians of students enrolled in grades K-12 to have them immunized against various communicable diseases, including polio. The regulations apply to kindergarten, elementary and secondary students enrolled in a public school, private school or nonpublic school, as well as homeschooled students.
“You can’t assume the person sitting next to your child is vaccinated, but you can vaccinate your child,” Janco said.
Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.