Today marks 30 days before school starts on August 26, 2020. It’s a time when families usually transition from thinking about summer activities to back-to-school shopping and school supplies. Because of the pandemic, one thing may be missing from the back-to-school list — a yearly visit to the pediatrician.

During the first few months of the COVID-19 Pandemic, local clinics saw a drop in routine appointments like well-child visits. Visiting with a pediatrician is essential to maintaining your child’s physical and mental health. One of the most important parts of a child’s annual visit to the doctor is updating vaccinations that protect against measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, meningitis*, chicken pox, and a host of other diseases. While we don’t yet have a vaccine for COVID-19, timely administration of these other vaccines helps protect your child now from other dangerous illnesses.

DMPS Health Services Supervisor Diane Gladson said the whole family should also visit a health professional for a yearly influenza vaccination, commonly known as a “flu shot”.

“It’s one of the most important vaccinations we can all get this year,” she said. “Not only will it help keep your family healthy, it will relieve pressure on hospitals and clinics dealing with COVID-19.”

The State of Iowa has not changed vaccine requirements for children enrolled in school and virtual school is no exception. Please visit with your pediatrician today to schedule a well-child visit and check on the status of your child’s vaccinations. You may need to submit paperwork to the district before the first day of school to assure a smooth start to the year.

If you have questions, call your primary care provider or your school nurse. Your school nurse can be contacted by calling the main office at your child’s school.

*All students entering or transferring into 7th grade and born after September 15, 2004 must show vaccine documentation of having received the meningococcal vaccine. All students entering or transferring into the 12th grade and born after September 15, 1999, will need to show vaccine documentation of two doses of the meningococcal vaccine or one dose if received when the child was 16 years of age or older. This must be completed before students are allowed to start class on the first day of the school year, according to the State of Iowa.

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