Doctors remind parents to vaccinate their children ahead of the school year

News13 Digital First

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – As the upcoming school year approaches, doctors are urging parents to ensure their children meet state-set vaccination requirements.

Doctor Marc Bahan, a pediatrician out of Conway Medical Center, says that his office is busy with parents in and out, getting their children ready for the first day.

“We have children coming in that are either starting 4K or kindergarten that need to have what we call their four-year vaccinations up to date,” Dr. Bahan said.

He explained that these vaccines are critical in keeping children healthy.

“Most of them are anywhere from 90 to 100 percent effective if given appropriately at preventing that (illness) in the person,” Dr. Bahan said. “And then there’s a secondary thing, we call herd immunity. For people who are immuno-compromised…they’re much less likely to be exposed to those illnesses”

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control sets the standards for vaccinations statewide. Dr. Teresa Foo, an immunization medical consultant for the agency, says these guidelines are meant to protect the community.

“It’s very important that kids have their vaccines on time,” Dr. Foo said. “Not only for childcare and school but also just for our communities to keep them healthy.”

She says there are options for parents who may not be covered by insurance to still get their children the vaccines they need.

“You can get a vaccine though our Vaccines for Children program, which is a federal program that provides free vaccines for kids,” Dr. Foo said. “They can call and make an appointment at their local health department.”

Foo added that there are two types of vaccination exemptions in South Carolina- medical and religious. Medical exemption must be approved by the child’s physician, while religious exemption must be okayed by DHEC.

Dr. Bahan says this time of year can get busy for pediatricians, and it’s important that parents make their appointments early.

“We highly recommend people make their appointments earlier so we can get everybody timely,” he said. “You don’t want to not be able to go to school on the first day because you haven’t completed the necessary vaccines.”

Required immunizations 2019-2020 (4K and younger)

  • Hepatitis B
  • DTaP (whooping cough, tetanus)
  • Polio
  • Pneumococcal (pneumonia)
  • Haemophilus influenza Type b (Hib)
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)

Required immunizations 2019-2020 (5k-12)

  • Hepatitis B
  • DTaP (tetanus, whooping cough)
  • Polio • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Tdap (whooping cough booster required before seventh grade)

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