Back to School: Now’s the Time to Review Vaccines with Kids and Adults

Dr. Bill Cotton

Dr. Bill Cotton

It’s back to school time so if you take care of school age kids you are already very busy immunizing kids. As a pediatrician I know that immunizations are one of the most valuable and effective preventive medicine techniques available.

When you see these kids for back to school check-ups or sports physicals review their immunizations. Use this opportunity to catch up immunization for kids that are behind in school required vaccines and offer the non-school required vaccines. Vaccines such as Meningitis B, Hep A, HPV. The HPV vaccine has proven to be very safe and is the only vaccine that prevents cancer. Also, don’t forget the boys, they need the HPV vaccine also. 

Immunizations are not just for kids. Your adult patients need their vaccines too. Encourage your patients to get their flu vaccine, pneumococcal vaccines, and zoster vaccines. Don’t forget that the DTaP booster given to grandparents protects their newborn grandkids from pertussis. Suggest the Hep A vaccine. Definitely important if traveling, but Ohio is a current hot spot for the preventable disease. 

What to do about your patents who refuse vaccines? Some practices dismiss families who refuse vaccines. This protects your immunized patients but leaves a portion of our population totally unprotected.

A recent article in Contemporary Pediatrics shared some valuable information from Tina Q. Tan, MD about vaccine refusers.

“Often physicians can turn around the vaccine-hesitant by educating—not lecturing—parents about their concerns.

For the vaccine-hesitant people, the major reason they’re hesitant is either a friend has basically told them vaccines are dangerous, or parents have been reading information on the Internet and they’re just not quite sure what to think,

With time, patience, and good communication techniques, however, there is a chance that physicians might convince even the most adamant parents that they should have their children vaccinated.

The one thing you don’t want to do is get mad, even though that’s a natural reaction. Find out why the person doesn’t want to vaccinate the child. Listen to them. Be empathetic about their fears and then provide them with accurate information. Talk with them about why vaccines are so important.”

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and if you’d like to participate and share with the CMA community how you or your practice is increasing vaccine knowledge please email Annie Wilson.