The first day of school always requires so much preparation; getting school supplies, clothes, shoes and more. It also means parents should make sure their children have received all the required immunizations and have up-to-date records prior to starting school.

Vaccines not only protect children, but they also protect other children from acquiring various diseases. The required vaccinations do not necessarily cover every disease or sickness, but they do protect against several severe conditions.

“There are about 14 vaccinations given to children now to protect against certain diseases that have caused polio, small pox, whooping cough and measles,” says Amber Watts, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. “Public schools, day cares, private schools and just about anywhere there is a large group gathering is a high-risk area. Vaccinations are highly important and should not be overlooked.”

There is a common misconception that vaccinating children is linked to the development of autism, but Dr. Watts believes otherwise.

“The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted several studies on the relationship between the measles mumps rubella vaccine and autism, and the FDA has concluded there is no link between the two,” Dr. Watts says.

It is never too late to vaccinate your child. Parents seeking information on what type of vaccines their child may need should consult with their primary care physician, Dr. Watt advises. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control also provides an updated thorough chart on its website (www.cdc.gov) that illustrates the different age groups and vaccines needed.

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