Shumaker: Immunizations important for children and adults

Shumaker: Immunizations important for children and adults

August 25th, 2017 by Nita Shumaker in Opinion Columns

As students settle into the school year, along with their school supplies, clothes and backpacks, parents, grandparents and caregivers have the task of making sure their children are up to date on their annual health checkups and immunizations.

With nearly 45,000 students expected to attend Hamilton County public schools this year, along with private school students and area colleges and universities that enroll students here from all over the nation and the world, it is important to be reminded of Tennessee requirements and guidelines for back-to-school immunizations.

These requirements impact children enrolled in daycare facilities, pre-schools and pre-kindergarten programs as well as new kindergarten students, all students entering the seventh grade, and children in any grade who are first-time students in a Tennessee school. There are also specific requirements for students enrolling in Tennessee colleges and universities.

A full list of requirements is available online at http://tn.gov/health/article/required-immunizations. These are based on current national expert recommendations set by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Dr. Nita Shumaker

Dr. Nita Shumaker

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

This is also a good time of year to think about adult immunizations.

Adults across the country become ill from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines, which in some cases lead to hospitalization and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control, many adults in the U.S. don't know that they continue to need immunizations throughout their life to protect against disease.

The CDC recommends a flu shot for children over six months old and adults each year, and adults should be up to date on a Td/Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).

Adults who are considered at-risk, based on factors including age and health conditions, may need additional vaccines such as pneumococcal, meningococcal, shingles, chickenpox, hepatitis A and B, or MMR (mumps, measles and rubella).

It is also important to note that adult immunization rates are especially low among African-Americans and Hispanics. For example, during the flu season of 2010-2011, 44 percent of white adults were vaccinated, while only 40 percent of Hispanics and 39 percent of African-Americans received vaccinations.

The CDC estimates that the direct cost of adult vaccine-preventable diseases is $10 billion annually in the United States, and the Institute of Medicine says that missed prevention opportunities are one of the six causes of excess cost in the country's health care system.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. While we're doing the work to get our children immunized to go back to school, this is the perfect time for adults to talk to your physicians about the vaccines you might need, especially as we head into the fall and winter months when illness becomes even more prevalent.

So don't delay. Make that appointment today.

Dr. Nita Shumaker is a pediatrician at Galen Pediatrics North. She is the current president of the Tennessee Medical Association and past president of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315
Email: webeditor@timesfreepress.com


Loading...