Time for school and wellness visits


By Sue Cody

School Immunizations

As kids are getting ready to head back to school, it’s time to make sure everyone’s vaccines are up to date.

Oregon requires school-age children to receive vaccinations against infectious diseases including polio, measles and whooping cough.

It’s better to prevent a disease than to treat it, experts say. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tell us it is essential to provide immunity from life-threatening diseases before children are exposed.

With new measles outbreaks reported in recent months – including nine in Oregon and 85 in Washington – health officials are urging children and adults to be vaccinated against this and other highly contagious diseases. Measles can have serious complications, including hearing loss, pneumonia, brain infections and even death.

In recent years, “A critical number of parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children,” says Paul Offit, MD, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. (http://bit.ly/W2Wmea)

“Measles is back because we haven’t learned from history. And it’s the children who suffer for our ignorance.”

Even though parents may have concerns about the safety of vaccines, the CDC states vaccines are tested to make sure they are safe and effective when given at the recommended ages.

Back to school, back to doctor

Wellness visits and vaccinations throughout childhood promote health and well-being for families and communities.

In fact, Healthy Children.org recommends annual wellness exams for kids of all ages, including adolescents and teens. Many changes occur during these years and a visit to a primary care provider can address development, physical fitness, nutrition, exercise, and social and emotional concerns.

The beginning of the school year is an ideal time to make these appointments. Parents can voice their concerns and ask questions during these visits in a more relaxed setting than when their child is sick.

The Way to Wellville and its sponsor, Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization, support wellness visits and immunizations.

For more information about immunizations, see: