No shortage of back-to-school shots for kids in Charlotte

No shortage of back-to-school shots for kids in Charlotte

Good news for parents, if not welcome news to kids: Charlotte-area doctors and medical clinics aren't facing the shortages of vaccines that some areas of the country are struggling with.

So, as families prepare for the start of the school year, a visit to your Charlotte-area pediatrician or family physician can get a child’s immune system the boost required for attending area public schools.

No, kids are not big fans of shots, says Dr. Erin Washburn, a pediatrician at highly rated Randolph Pediatrics in Charlotte, but immunizations are very important to good health.

“As a pediatrician, I believe the expansion of the immunization program is one of the most important medical advancements in the past 60 years,” she says.

Vaccines needed for school

If children have been seeing a doctor on a regular basis, they may be caught up on the required immunizations for public schools in North Carolina and South Carolina. While North Carolina's requirements are the same as last year, South Carolina has made some changes to its required shot list.

Children today tend to get more vaccinations than their parents did, Washburn says, but that’s a natural consequence of improved medicine. “Science has allowed us to immunize against more illnesses, to deter and prevent diseases,” she says.

Of course, all that science isn’t particularly comforting to the child watching the needle make its way toward him or her.

RELATED: Tips to comfort and distract your child during a vaccination

'Herd immunity'

Though costs have risen, health insurance covers most of the vaccine charges, and Washburn says most local families do get the shots.

Your checklist for when to get which vaccines

“If parents have concerns,” she says, “they should talk to their doctor, so that they can be on the same page about the risks and benefits to everyone.”

These immunizations are important not only for the child who gets them, but also for other children and adults who because of various conditions or illnesses can’t be immunized themselves.

Having a high proportion of the population immunized creates a “herd immunity,” which helps prevent the spread of disease even to those people who haven’t been vaccinated.

That's another reason Washburn reminds parents not to forget another vaccine for the child once they’ve settled into the school year: Get a flu shot later this fall.

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