The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Department of Education are joining partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. The month-long celebration is a great time for parents to have their child’s shot record reviewed to ensure they are protected against vaccine preventable diseases and ready to start the school year.
“Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner for DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. “Immunization not only helps to protect vaccinated individuals, but also helps protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.”
Routine childhood vaccines protect against 14 serious and potentially life-threatening diseases including Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Measles, Rotavirus, Haemophilus Influenzae type B, Tetanus (Lockjaw), Mumps, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Pneumococcal disease, Polio, Rubella (German Measles), Meningococcal disease and Varicella (Chickenpox).
“Immunizations are a vital part of making sure our students are healthy so they can attend school regularly,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “If parents haven’t done so already, August is a great time to review students’ shot records to be sure they are up to date for the start of a new school year.”
Childhood immunizations are available to children at more than 380 Vaccines for Children (VCF) provider locations, which include all local health departments. Children who are uninsured or underinsured can get their vaccines through the VFC Program without a financial burden to the parent.
In West Virginia, immunization is required for children not only who are entering school in the state for the first time, but also pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, seventh and twelfth grades. To learn more about the VFC Program or specific immunizations required for school, please visit www.immunization.wv.gov.