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 school about to start.
“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 serious diseases, Dr. Janco said.
Parents can check their family’s online SLUHN portal or call their SLUHN pediatrician’s office to find out whether their child is due for any vaccinations or boosters, and to 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, Dr. Janco said.
While Pennsylvania is one of only 15 states that allows for philosophical exemption to vaccines for school entry, Dr. Janco agrees with the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommendations for parents or guardians of students enrolled in grades K-12 to have their children 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, and home education students.
“You can’t assume the person sitting next to your child is vaccinated, but you can vaccinate your child,” says Dr. Janco.