Getting vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the
most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health. Diseases can
quickly spread among groups of children who aren’t vaccinated. Whether it’s a baby
starting at a new child care facility, a toddler heading to preschool, a student going back
to elementary, middle or high school – or even a college freshman – parents should
check their child’s vaccination records.
Child care facilities, preschool programs, schools, and colleges are prone to outbreaks
of infectious diseases. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one
another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs and other factors such as
interacting in crowded environments.
When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread
disease to others in their play groups, child care centers, classrooms and communities
– including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened
immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.
Additionally, states may require children who are entering child care or school to be
vaccinated against certain diseases. Colleges and universities may have their own
requirements, especially for students living in residence halls. Parents should check
with their child’s doctor, school or the local health department to learn about the
requirements in their state or county.