Written by The Herald-News
Department of Public Health and Human Services officials say that with another school year set to begin, now is the time to make sure children are up to date on their vaccines.
Officials say that getting all of the recommended vaccines is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children's health.
With back to school rapidly approaching and a continued increase in the number of pertussis, or “whooping cough” cases throughout the state, DPHHS director Richard Opper says “parents are encouraged to check with their health care provider or local health department to ensure that their children are up to date on all recommended immunizations.”
Schools are highly susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases. When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their classroom and further into the community — endangering babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.
A flu vaccine is recommended every year for all children six months and older. Children age four to six are due for boosters of four vaccines:
•DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis)
•MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
Older children — like pre-teens and teens — need:
•Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)
•MCV (meningococcal conjugate virus)
DPHHS urges parents to talk with their doctor, nurse or local health department about the recommended vaccines. Parents can find out more about the recommended immunization schedule at www.immunization.mt.gov.