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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Use summer break to get ahead on immunizations

  • But before he becomes an NCAA five-sport star, Jarek’s first step is toward kindergarten, which means he and his mom need to be certain his immunizations are up to date before the start of the school year.

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  • Tara Houle’s 5-year-old son, Jarek, has big plans for his future.
    When asked about the upcoming school year, he says, “I’m going to kindergarten. Then I’m going to college to play football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer.”
    But before he becomes an NCAA five-sport star, Jarek’s first step is toward kindergarten, which means he and his mom need to be certain his immunizations are up to date before the start of the school year.
    Houle, of Springfield, Ill., is already trying to get the doctor visits arranged.
    “I’m trying to get him in now because he has to have his vaccinations, his physical, he has to have a dental check up, and vision,” she says. “That’s a lot for a 5-year-old.”
    It’s not only kindergarteners. Some students entering sixth and ninth grades must also prove they are up to date on their Tdap, which is a booster that prevents diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (better known as whooping cough) shots.
    Carol Finley, assistant chief of the immunization section for the Illinois Department of Public Health, says students typically need a booster for pertussis by the time they reach sixth grade.
     
    Side effects?
    Dr. Craig Batterman, an assistant professor in pediatrics at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, says vaccines have had a huge affect on public health.
    “There are some side effects from vaccinations, but they’re generally short-lived and tolerable,” he says.
    Some parents worry about the possibility of more severe reactions that have been blamed on vaccines, but Batterman says those associations have been disproved.
    “The CDC has really delved deep into these side effects and proved them to be non-existent,” he says.
    Batterman says the only drawback for parents regarding vaccines is that no one wants to get a shot, particularly children.
    “No one wants to see their child in distress. But wanting to keep your child from getting a very serious disease outweighs any temporary side effects,” he says.
    Tara Houle says Jarek is on schedule regarding his immunizations, though she is preparing him for the next round he’ll need before school.
    “He actually likes going to the doctor,” she says. “Granted, he hasn’t had shots that he can remember. I’m just thankful he isn’t afraid of them (doctors).”
    For Houle, that step toward kindergarten, and all the medical requirements that accompanies it, is a reminder of something else: the ephemeral quality of childhood.
    “Time sure does fly when you have kids,” she says. “I feel like I just brought him home, and now I’m sending him off to school.”
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