August is National Immunization Awareness Month and back-to-school season is fast approaching! Along with gathering school supplies, parents should also ask… “Are my child’s shots up to date?”
Vaccines are important for children of all ages – from toddlers to students leaving for college. In addition to the recommended shots for more than a dozen serious childhood illnesses, flu season is fast approaching and an annual flu shot is advised.
“Residents can have their children receive free flu shots at school. This Health Department initiative saves countless sick days and potentially devastating illness,” reminds County Executive MaryEllen Odell.
“Vaccinations are the safest and most effective way to prevent serious diseases, and that includes the flu,” says Michael Nesheiwat, M.D., Interim Commissioner of Health. “When children are not vaccinated, they are at greater risk for illness, and can spread disease to others in their families, schools and the community.”
Childhood vaccinations required for school entry protect against potentially life-threatening diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, hepatitis B, meningitis, pertussis (whooping cough) and chicken pox. Children in day care, pre-K, or kindergarten through 12th grade, who do not meet the immunization requirements will not be permitted to attend school. The complete list of New York State- required school immunizations, as well as Putnam’s school and public flu vaccination clinic schedules are available online at www.putnamcountyny.gov/health or by calling the Putnam County Department of Health’s Immunization Program at (845) 808-1332.
Teens and college-bound students have other health concerns, including meningitis and cervical cancer for which vaccines offer protection. Parents and caregivers should check with their pediatrician about any vaccines their children need and make an appointment as soon as possible. Children up to 19 years of age can receive the required vaccinations free of charge at the Health Department’s clinics if they meet eligibility requirements. Vaccinations are also available to others for a fee. Call (845) 808-1332 for dates, times and location of clinics.
The Department of Health’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.