Understanding Preschool Immunizations

by Carla on September 16, 2009

One of the most important duties for those with jobs in childcare is to protect the health, safety and wellness of children in your care. Immunizations make daycare centers and preschools a healthy place to learn and grow.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, vaccines help keeping children safe by protecting communities by helping to protect children who are not able to be vaccinated or who do not respond to vaccines, protecting individual children who are vaccinated against dangerous diseases, and by slowing down or stopping disease outbreaks.

Check with your preschool or daycare center and follow state requirements, as they vary. In most states, preschool children must have:

  • Four doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine ( DTP)
  • Three doses of polio vaccine
  • One dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine
  • Hib flu vaccine on or after 15 months of age
  • Three doses of hepatitis B vaccine
  • One dose of varticella for chicken pox on or after 12 months of age (or proof they’ve already had chicken pox and have immunity from chicken pox).

As previously stated, immunization requirements vary from state to state. For example, in New Jersey, children who are six- to 59-months-old attending licensed day care centers and preschools must get an annual flu shot between September 1 and December 31 of each year, while children who turned 60 months of age on or before December 31 do not have to get the flu vaccine, but it is recommended.

Vaccines do have side effects such as fever or soreness and or redness at the site of injection. However, the risks of minor side effects do not outweigh the vaccine’s ability to immunize children against horrible, preventable diseases. In some cases exemptions are allowed for medical, religious or personal reasons. In many preschools children who are not fully immunized may be excluded from attending preschool or childcare if an outbreak of one of these diseases occurs.

What are the policies at your daycare? As a licensed daycare provider you must make sure that all children are immunized. According to The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children who are not vaccinated endanger public health by posing a threat to other non-immunized individuals, including individuals who cannot be immunized due to underlying health problems, and the small percentage of individuals in whom vaccination does not confer protection.  They also contribute to increased societal health care costs.” Protect the children in your care and your community.

About Carla

Carla Snuggs has written 88 post in this blog.

Carla is a freelance writer from Southern California. She has a B.A. in early childhood education and a Master of Library and Information Science degree specializing in public librarianship and youth services.

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