As back to school approaches, provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall reminds families to review their children’s vaccinations.
“Starting off the school year with an up-to-date immunization schedule is a safe and effective way to safeguard your kids from many serious and potentially deadly diseases.
“By the time a child reaches five or six years old, he or she should have received booster shots that protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, whooping cough and more, and kids in grades 6 and 9 should receive follow-up vaccinations. This is all part of B.C.’s free, routine immunization program.
“It is thanks to routine vaccinations that many of these diseases seem like distant threats; however, as we’ve seen with recent whooping cough and measles outbreaks, they still exist. They spread quickly among those who are not immunized, can cause serious complications and can be life-threatening.
“This is a busy time of year for parents, but addressing any gaps in your family’s immunization schedule helps prevent these diseases from re-emerging. Your local public health unit or health-care provider can check to see if any shots are missing and book appointments. As well, resources are available to help make it easier.
“You can sign up for free text reminders at: http://immunizebc.ca/reminders for your child’s next scheduled vaccine. Download the ImmunizeCA App at: http://immunize.ca/en/app.aspx to help manage immunization records and the printable Child Health Passport is available at: http://immunizebc.ca/sites/default/files/graphics/child-health-passport2013.pdf to help keep track of immunization history and other health information.
“Providing your children’s immunization records at kindergarten or Grade 1 entry is extremely helpful information for school personnel. If someone at school contracts a vaccine-preventable infectious disease, children who are not immunized may have to stay home until it is safe.
“Childhood vaccination is safe, effective and free and gives your family a healthy start to the school year. By keeping up-to-date, you’re protecting not only your child, but the whole community.”