Back to school is right around the corner and parents are the first one's with homework. This year in Washington State, the legislature passed a bill that no longer allows parents to opt out of required school vaccines for personal or philosophical reasons. So if you want to avoid long lines and busy doctor's offices... don't wait to make an appointment.
Why is it so important parents get their gets vaccinated before school starts?
It helps protect them from all the other kids from getting communicable diseases that can be really serious but are also easily prevented if everybody gets their vaccines.
What's your advice for parents or caregivers who are concerned about vaccines?
I think the first thing I would tell them is go talk to your doctor about what you're worried about, what you're concerned about. It's a dialogue, we want to engage people, hear what their concerns and their fears are, help them understand the benefits and if there are risks of vaccines hopefully we'll have a fruitful conversation and they'll end up deciding to go ahead and vaccinate.
Do kids going to college need to get vaccinated?
We'd really like kids to be vaccinated with the HPV vaccine before they head off to college. That's a series that's had some resounding success and it's so successful it used to be three shots for the series, now it's only two if you start it before 15 and we're seeing big reductions in genital warts and abnormal pap smears later in life for young women and we hope to see reduced risk of cancers later on for both men and women.
What tips do you have for people who are nervous around needles?
All the nurses are so good, really what you feel mostly is they pinch your skin. Just being matter of fact, promising a treat afterwards is fine and some doctors offices, if you tell the nurse of physician ahead of time that your kid is really going to have a hard time with it there's things they can do. For example, putting something on to numb the skin, doing a spray, doing it in a different room. Sometimes kids begin to associate the same room over and over, especially little ones will start crying when they come into the office, so we can do things to switch it up for them.
For more information on recommended and required vaccines from the Washington State Department of Health,
For teens 7-18 click here.
and for college students click here.