Under California law, children must be vaccinated against a host of diseases, such as polio and chicken pox, before starting school. The requirement differs depending on the age and grade of the child.
August is National Vaccination Month, and public health officials are using that to remind people about the importance of vaccination.
“Vaccines are the most effective tools there are to prevent children from getting sick,” San Diego County public health officer Wilma Wooten said. “When children are not vaccinated, not only are they at increased risk for disease, they can also spread illness to others in classrooms, households and communities.”
Starting in June of 2016, California parents will no longer be able to use personal belief to exempt their children from vaccination.
This past June, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a Senate bill eliminating personal belief exemptions. The bill allows only medical reasons for exemptions.
For children 4 to 6 years of age, health officials recommend getting shots for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella and polio. Older children need a booster shot for diphheria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends teenagers get vaccinated against human papilloma virus.
Vaccination is not just for younger students; those entering college need to get vaccinated as well.
The centers recommend college freshmen get vaccinated against Meningococcal meningitis. Freshmen are seven times more likely to contract Meningococcal meningitis than the general population, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Most county public health departments offer vaccinations for little to no cost for low-income people or people lacking medical insurance.
– La Jolla Patch