Although the new school year will look different this year because of COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Public Health says kids should still receive their routine vaccinations.
“While much of our focus is on COVID-19 these days, we must continue to take care of all of our health needs,” said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
“Vaccines are one of the safest and most effective methods to protect children from more than a dozen vaccine-preventable diseases. Make sure your children are fully vaccinated so they can be as healthy as possible while facing the ongoing risk of COVID-19,” said Ezike.
Vaccines help protect children from diseases like chickenpox and pertussis, which remain common in the U.S., according to the IDPH.
IDPH is teaming up with the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) on a social media campaign that will raise awareness of the importance of vaccines, even in this time of remote learning or hybrid programs of school schedules split between home and in buildings.
“Missing well-visits and vaccines place children at higher risk for more problems in the future. Especially during the onset of COVID-19, vaccines are the best way to keep children protected and healthy,” said Mariana Glusman, M.D., FAAP, immediate past president of the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics. “This campaign aims to increase awareness about the importance of immunizations and routine visits for children.”
The immunization requirements for the 2020-21 school year are the same as last year. The requirements can be found on the IDPH website under immunizations.
Vaccines are not just for kids, however. Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives.
During National Immunization Awareness Month, IDPH is asking everyone to check their vaccination history and talk with their health care provider.
Adults should get a flu vaccine each year and receive a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster vaccine or Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) every 10 years. Tdap is also recommended for pregnant women during each pregnancy.
Adults 50 years and older are recommended to receive the shingles vaccine. Adults 65 and older are also recommended to receive both pneumococcal vaccines, although one year apart.
Some adults younger than 65 years with certain conditions are also recommended to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccinations. Adults may need other vaccines (such as hepatitis A and B) based on age, pregnancy status, occupation, travel, medical, and vaccination history, and/or other considerations.
For more information about immunizations, including vaccination schedules for infants, children, teens and adults, visit http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/immunization. Adults can also take a vaccine quiz to see what vaccines are recommended at https://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched/.