Is your child up to date on their required vaccinations and wellness visits?
With school season around the corner, it’s important to make sure
your child gets the
physicals and immunizations they need before starting classes again.
As of mid-July, Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) decided it will
likely operate under a
hybrid model of in-person and virtual education for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.
This plan will be finalized and posted to the
FCPS website by August 14. In the meantime, Frederick Health is open and here to give
your family the care they deserve, whether it’s keeping your child
current on their vaccinations, performing a
sports physical, or simply ensuring they’re healthy.
The importance of vaccines
Vaccines are essential for providing immunity before you’re exposed to potentially
life-threatening diseases and infections. They help prevent infectious
disease in those who receive them and protect those who come in contact
with unvaccinated, infected people.
Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with your body’s
natural defenses to develop immunity to disease safely. When germs like
bacteria or viruses enter the body, they attack and multiply, causing
an infection and leading to illness and its symptoms. The first time the
body encounters these germs, it can take several days to make and use
all germ-fighting tools needed to fight the infection. After the infection
is gone, the immune system “remembers” how to protect the
body against that specific disease.
Vaccines help your body develop immunity by imitating infections. They
never cause illness, but they may cause the immune system to produce antibodies,
which sometimes lead to minor symptoms such as fever or aches. Once the
imitation infection is gone, the body is left with memory cells that will
remember how to fight the disease in the future.
Vaccinating your child protects them in public and at school, where they
are exposed to hundreds of other kids and potential diseases. While students
are not required to get a flu shot, it’s highly recommended, especially
this season as the COVID-19 threat looms.
COVID-19 and the flu
Fall isn’t just back-to-school season; it’s also the start
of flu season. Make plans to get flu vaccines for yourself and your child
in early fall, before flu season begins. The
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you get your flu shot by the end of October; however, getting vaccinated
later can still be beneficial.
The (CDC) believes it is likely that both
COVID-19 and the flu will be spreading in the coming fall and winter. Getting a flu shot will
not prevent against COVID-19, but it can reduce the risk of flu-related
illness, hospitalization, and death. By getting the flu vaccine, you can
also help conserve healthcare resources that are scarce due to COVID-19.
Flu vaccines are offered at your
primary care office, at
Frederick Health Urgent Care, and certain pharmacy clinics.
Students without up-to-date immunizations will not be able to attend the
first day of school at FCPS unless they provide proof of an appointment
for vaccines scheduled within the next 20 days. As of the 2019-2020 school
year, the required student vaccinations are as follows:
- Two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine for any student
who has reached 5 years-old, including pre-k students.
- Two doses of the Varicella vaccine for entry into Kindergarten, first,
second, third, fourth, and fifth grade.
- One dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) for entry into seventh,
eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade.
- One dose of meningococcal vaccine for entry into seventh, eighth, ninth,
tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade.
If your child plays sports at school, they’ll need to get a physical
to show they’re healthy enough to participate in athletics. FCPS
requires students to submit proof of a medical examination on April 1
or after for each year of participation.
This exam should be performed by a licensed physician, certified physician
assistant under the supervision of a licensed physician, or a certified
nurse practitioner. Sports physicals are also available at
Frederick Health Urgent Care.
Where can my child get vaccinations?
Vaccinations are available at your
primary care doctor, at the
Frederick County Health Department, and at certain CVS MinuteClinics. The Frederick County Health Department
provides free vaccinations for uninsured or underinsured children.
Many of the vaccines your child requires are provided at regularly scheduled
well-child doctor visits. If you’re not sure of which vaccines your
child has received, you can look at their vaccine record or ask your healthcare provider.
If your child needs vaccinations, a physical, or a wellness visit, don’t
delay. Frederick Health continues to offer safe, exceptional care for
the Frederick Community and beyond.
Schedule an appointment today.