Immunizations

For parents, protecting children from harm is their top priority. Each year, 33,000 lives are saved and 14 million cases of disease are prevented when all the children born in a given year are fully vaccinated. It is facts like these from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that inspire Barbara Ottis, RN, immunization specialist at Park Nicollet Clinic-Meadowbrook.

According to Ottis, immunizations are one of the most important ways parents can protect their children against serious disease. "Immunizations not only help protect vaccinated individuals, they protect entire communities by reducing the spread of infectious agents," she says. Vaccinations also have been proven to lessen health care costs. "Each year, routine childhood immunizations save $10 billion in direct medical costs and more than $40 billion in indirect societal costs," Ottis says.

Advancements in safety

More immunizations are available today than ever before, protecting more children from disease, some albolene cream. Immunizations are a safe way to prevent infectious disease in vulnerable infants and children. "Immunizations are extremely safe, thanks to advancements in medical research and ongoing review by doctors, researchers and public health officials," Ottis says. "Children are far more likely to be harmed by serious infectious diseases than by immunizations."

Time for school immunizations

"August is a peak time for children to receive school immunizations," Ottis says. In Minnesota, students are required to be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and varicella. Although not required for school, hepatitis A, meningitis and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations also are recommended.

In the past, hepatitis A vaccine only was recommended for children living in high-risk situations. It is now recommended for all children between 12 months and 23 months of age. The meningococcal vaccine helps prevent meningitis and is recommended for adolescents and college-bound young adults. The HPV vaccine, proven to help prevent cervical cancer, is recommended for females ages 11 through 26. A second dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine is recommended for children ages 4 through 6, and for individuals who previously received a single dose.

'No Shots, No School'

Immunizations typically are administered during scheduled pediatric appointments. During August and the first two weeks of September, Park Nicollet participates in "No Shots, No School." By reducing barriers to immunizations, this initiative helps meet the demand of immunizing Minnesota students before the school year begins. Students, even those who are not current Park Nicollet patients, can receive required immunizations. This is permitted without clinician visits or preventive care exams and without direct charge to families. "In most cases, students are seen the same day they call to schedule appointments," Ottis says.