COLLEGE STATION, Texas — School is just around the corner for kids across the Brazos Valley, and doctors say vaccinations should be first on the back to school list.
“We are very much for vaccinations. They are very important in helping to reduce vaccine preventable diseases,” said Dr. Lauren Steffen, a Family Medicine Physician at Baylor Scott and White.
“After childhood vaccinations were introduced, we’ve actually seen a decline in the vaccine preventable diseases by 90 percent.”
Steffen also noted those preventable diseases can result in chronic life-long conditions or even death if someone is not vaccinated for them.
In just days thousands of kids in the Brazos Valley will return to school, and no matter their age or grade, will need to be immunized.
“Before you even start school, they’re going to recommend that you have your up to date on your child vaccinations. Those are the ones you get when you’re a baby, and then typically around four years old including your measles, mumps, rubella, varicella etc,” she said.
“Then before seventh grade, they do require you to have your tetanus. Which we typically give a TDap. It covers for tetanus diptheria and pertussis. And then also your first meningitis vaccine.”
The vaccines don't stop after grade school.
Incoming college freshmen also need a meningitis vaccine. While it may seem like a chore to some, doctors say immunizations are essential to herd immunity.
“It’s a concept that’s been around for years. So when you have a portion of the population that’s up to date on their vaccinations. Then those who can’t get vaccines... babies, or people that are unable to get them. Then they’ll actually be covered because of this ‘herd immunity’ or community immunity,” Dr. Steffen said.
There’s a lot of information out there, but she, along with other doctors like her encourages an open dialogue.
“There’s just been a lot of fears. I just want people to know that there is a place to come to and talk about it, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about vaccines.”
You can also find more information on vaccines on the CDC's website.