This trend leads to health concerns. As the new school year approaches, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) want to encourage parents to make sure their children are up-to-date on their immunizations. Each year, hundreds of children in Michigan become ill from diseases that could have been prevented.
“Back-to-school physicals provide a valuable opportunity for health professionals to remind people how important it is for children to be fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Greg Holzman, chief medical executive for MDCH. “Childhood immunizations are one of the best ways for parents to protect their children against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.”
Infants are especially vulnerable to diseases that could be passed on from school-aged brothers and sisters. That is why it is so important to protect the entire family through immunizations. In 2008 there have been more cases of measles, a highly contagious viral disease, in the United States since 1997.
So far this year, seven distinct measles outbreaks, including four in Michigan, with a total of more than 130 cases, have been reported in the United States. Each of the cases involved largely un-immunized groups and sparked by a case from another part of the world.
As you bring your children in for their well-child checkups or sports physicals, take the opportunity to ask their health care provider to check on their immunization status, including when to come back for the flu vaccine.
At the same time, it would be a good idea to make sure that the whole family is completely up-to-date on immunizations. For more information visit: www.michigan.gov/immunize