News Flash

Public Health

Posted on: August 5, 2021

Back to School Vaccine Checklist

Back to School Vaccine Checklist image summarizing the text of this news flash

As summer is winding down, you may be thinking about what needs to get done before your child heads back to school. You may be thinking about if they need a new backpack or what activities they will be involved in this coming school year.

It’s also important to remember what you can do to keep your child healthy and safe. Getting your child the vaccines they need is one of the biggest things you can do to protect them from serious diseases like polio, measles, and tetanus (lockjaw).

Does your child have all the vaccines they need to attend school?

Find out now, before the school year starts. Use this checklist to help you and your child get ready for back to school:

  • Check what vaccines your child needs. Your child’s health care provider or school can let you know. You can also contact your local health department to find out. All children who do not have a valid medical exemption need to get vaccinated – religious exemptions are no longer allowed in New York State.
  • Make an appointment with your child’s health care provider to get them any vaccines they need. If your child doesn’t get them before school starts, they may not be allowed to attend.
  • Check school-required vaccines off your Back to School checklist!

If you have any questions, please call Schuyler County Public Health at 607-535-8140 or email us at scph@co.schuyler.ny.us. Learn more about vaccines at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/growing/index.html.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines work with your child’s natural immune system to safely build immunity to serious diseases. When a germ gets in the body, the immune system kicks into action to destroy the invading germ. If it is a germ that the body has seen before, it remembers how to destroy the germ and can do it before sickness occurs. If it is a germ that hasn’t been seen before, it can take a couple weeks for the body to learn how to fight it off and serious illness can happen during that time.

Vaccines work through the same process but are much safer because they only contain dead or weakened germs that can’t cause illness. Using vaccines, the body can safely learn how to destroy the germ, without the dangers of a full-strength, living germ. If the germ tries to invade in the future, the body remembers how to destroy the germ and can fight it off.

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