Ministry of Health
VICTORIA – As families get ready for school, deputy provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reminds parents to make sure their kids’ vaccines are up-to-date.
“With the rush to get school supplies, lunches and backpacks in order, it’s easy for immunizations to get lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, there’s help available to make this a bit easier for parents.
“Parents can get immunization appointment reminders sent right to their mobile, create a personalized vaccination calendar and enter their postal code to find a public health unit that is closest to them. They can do this by visiting: www.immunizebc.ca/. As well, ImmunizeCanada has developed a free app to help parents keep track of immunizations, available here: http://immunize.ca/en/app.aspx.
“By kindergarten or Grade 1, children should have received booster shots that protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, whooping cough and more, and kids in grades 6 and 9 should receive followup vaccinations. These immunizations are all part of B.C.’s free, routine immunization program. As well, starting this year, students in Grade 9 will be further protected against more types of meningitis with a new quadrivalent vaccine booster, which protects against meningococcal infection caused by strains A, Y, and W-135, alongside C.
“Nurses at local public health units can check records for any missing immunizations, administer routine shots and provide vaccination records for parents to provide to schools. Immunization records are extremely helpful to school and public health personal in determining who may need to stay home during an outbreak.
“While vaccine preventable diseases seem like a distant memory, we still see outbreaks in under-immunized communities. Diseases like whooping cough and measles can spread very quickly, have major health implications and can be fatal for babies.
“I know this is a busy time of year, but keeping your kids’ shots up-to-date is an important step in getting ready for back-to-school. And it could be life-saving.”