Posted on July 13, 2017 at 1:34 PM by Doug Bolnick
IMMUNIZATIONS KEEP STUDENTS HEALTHY
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If you are a mom or dad enjoying the fun of summer with your kids, planning for the upcoming school year might not have crossed your mind. However, it'll be here before you know it! Making plans to update your student's vaccination record today will ease hassles when registering for school or obtaining class schedules. In addition to playing a vital role in helping the community fight against the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, immunizations are required to attend Missouri schools.
The benefits of diminishing vaccine-preventable diseases — both for the individual and the community as a whole — far outweigh the mild and temporary discomfort immunizations may cause. The National Institutes of Health credit vaccinations for a significant decrease in diseases that harmed and killed thousands of people just a few decades ago and also note that prevention is much cheaper than treating these illnesses. Researchers estimate that vaccinations save $5 in treatment expenses for every dollar spent, and that this further eliminates an additional $11 in societal costs (health care, child care, lost work output, etc.).
Without routine vaccination, these diseases could re-emerge and impact the community. This re-emergence is something we’ve seen lately with numerous measles and mumps cases around the United States.
Because of these protective qualities, the State of Missouri requires up-to-date immunizations for school attendance. The Division of Health Services’ Immunization Clinic offers vaccinations on an appointment basis to help students meet these requirements. Vaccinations are administered from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the clinic, located at 1650 Boones Lick Road in St. Charles. To schedule an appointment, please call 636-949-1857.
A parent or adult guardian must accompany all students to and during their appointment. To ensure that students receive all necessary vaccinations, parents should bring a current immunization record.
Vaccines for Children
The Immunization Clinic provides free or affordably priced vaccinations through a partnership with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Free vaccinations are available to those participating in the Vaccines for Children program. Children, ages 18 and under, are eligible for this service if they meet one of the following criteria:
- Do not have health insurance
- Covered by Medicaid
- Native American or Alaskan Native
- Have health insurance that does not cover immunizations
Vaccine requirements for Missouri students have been in place for many years, but parents should be aware that incoming eighth and 12th grade students must now have doses of the Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV4). The requirement, which went into effect last school year, requires one dose of MCV4 for incoming eighth graders and two doses of the vaccination for incoming 12th graders. Only one dose of the vaccine is required if the first dose was administered at age 16 or older.
Another vaccination to remember is MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Cases of measles have increased across the United States in the past several years, and incidences of mumps occurred at several Midwestern universities last year (including the University of Missouri-Columbia and Southeast Missouri State University).