MAYVILLE, N.Y:. – The Public Health Division of the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reminds parents that getting their children vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things they can do to protect their children’s health as well as their classmates and community. 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.
Most schools, including all public schools in Chautauqua County, require children to be current on vaccinations before enrolling. Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, meningitis, measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox.
“Thanks to vaccines, most of these diseases have become rare in the United States,” said Christine Schuyler, Director of Health and Human Services for Chautauqua County. “But many still exist here, and they can make children very sick, leading to many days of missed school, missed work for parents, and even hospitalization and death.”
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is one of the most common vaccine-preventable diseases that we see among children in Chautauqua County. In the United States, between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough occur and up to 20 babies die each year. Most whooping cough deaths are among babies who are too young to be protected by their own vaccination.
“Without vaccines, these numbers would be much, much higher,” said Schuyler. “That’s why kids still need vaccines.”
When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk of disease and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community—including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.
Schools have immunization requirements for children entering Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 6th grade, 7th grade and 12th grade. Check with your child’s doctor to find out what vaccines they need this year. Chautauqua County DHHS can also review vaccination records. Please call 1-866-604-4789 for more information and resources on vaccines and vaccine preventable illnesses.