It’s that time of year again: back-to-school season. If you have school-aged children, you’re likely buying school supplies, wrangling your kids back into a normal routine, scheduling school physicals, and enjoying the last days of summer. And while these are all important, don’t forget the most important step you can take to protect your kids and your community this school year: make sure your kids are up-to-date on all their vaccinations.
Protect Your Kids This School Year
Every parent of a school-aged child knows that children bring home everything from school: art projects, library books, permission slips, and unfortunately…germs. The good news is, many of the infectious illnesses that children bring home can be prevented with a vaccine. What’s more is vaccines are covered as an essential health benefit, which means that Independence Blue Cross will cover 100 percent of the cost of designated preventive services, including vaccinations.
So, if you’re bringing your child to the pediatrician for a school or sports physical, it’s the perfect time to review the recommended immunization schedule to ensure that they are up-to-date on their vaccinations. It’s also a great time to discuss the upcoming flu shot.
Plan Ahead for the Flu Shot
The flu shot usually becomes available in early fall, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead for when and where your child will get the flu vaccine. Health care professionals recommend getting the flu shot as early as possible (in September or October) since an early vaccine offers the best protection for the entire flu season.
There are many benefits to getting the flu shot, one of which is that it can reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalizations, especially among children. In addition, depending on what strain of the virus circulates this year, the flu vaccine can reduce your risk of getting the flu by 40 to 60 percent.
The COVID-19 Vaccine
For parents of teens, there’s another vaccine to take care of before the start of the school year. The COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently available for children 12 and older, and is 100 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 complications and hospitalizations. Make sure your teen is vaccinated before they head back for the new school year. Not only is it their best shot at preventing a COVID-19 infection, but they can also return to their regular activities without masks if they get vaccinated. Find out where your teen can get vaccinated.
The COVID-19 vaccine should become available to children ages 2 through 11 by the end of 2021 to early 2022.