The Journal Gazette
Monday, August 02, 2021 4:14 pm

Back-to-school prep includes physicals, shots

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

As students prepare for the upcoming academic year, health organizations don't want families to forget about the back-to-school supplies not found in stores -- physicals and immunizations.

K-12 students in Indiana must be vaccinated against diseases including chickenpox, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus and whooping cough, with specific requirements depending on age. The annual flu shot also is recommended.

Medical and religious objections are allowed.

The vaccines protect inoculated students as well as indirect protection to others, said Barb Rondot, an advanced practice registered nurse with Lutheran Health Physicians.

"Children who cannot receive some vaccines, such as children with immunodeficiencies or are not yet the appropriate age, are indirectly protected when there is high coverage around those children," Rondot said in a statement.

Routine childhood vaccination rates declined during the novel coronavirus pandemic, especially between March and May 2020, when many places were under stay-at-home orders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Administered doses increased between June and September 2020, but it wasn't enough to catch up children who didn't get routine vaccinations on time, the CDC found.

The agency warned the lag in "catch-up vaccination" could pose a serious public health threat.

To help Allen County families get children back on track with their shots, MDwise, Super Shot and the Indiana Department of Health will host a vaccination clinic Aug. 28 and 29 at Super Shot.

"It's important that as many Hoosier kids as possible get vaccinated against preventable diseases like measles, polio and HPV," Jessica Cromer, president and CEO of MDwise, said in a statement. "We're hosting 'Back on Track' to help ensure Indiana communities and families are healthy."

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