This is back-to-school week for immunizations (Aug. 10-16).
Arsala Bakhtyar, MD, an Oakwood-affiliated pediatrician with offices in Canton, gets pretty busy around this time of the year. “Schools and summer camps require physical exams and vaccinations up to age 16,” she said.
Annual checkups, though mandated, are very important anyway and should be tended to on a set schedule. The question Dr. Bakhtyar runs into every now and again, usually from parents, is: “My child is healthy – why all the fuss?”
“There are so many answers to that question,” Dr. Bakhtyar said. “For example, with children in their first and second years, we’re diligent about taking height and weight measurements. From those, we can make sure they’re developing well and don’t have any nutritional deficiencies.
“They grow so rapidly, too,” she added. “As they grow, we find out about other things – peer relationships and whether they have any behavioral issues such as ADHD and depression. Did you know that by age 5 they should know their address?”
As for what sort of vaccinations they’re getting, Dr. Bakhtyar said that since they’re getting different vaccinations at different times in their growth cycles, it’s hard for parents to keep track of what their children are receiving.
Here’s a little cheat sheet, courtesy of Dr. Bakhtyar and the National Public Health Information Coalition.
Children 4-6 years old are due for boosters of four vaccines:
- DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis)
- MMR (measles, mumps rubella)
Starting at 11 or 12, preteens and teens need:
- Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)
- MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate vaccine)
- HPV (human papilloma virus)
A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for all children 6 months and older. Dr. Bakhtyar also vaccinates against hepatitis A and B.
A list of Oakwood clinics that often offer same-day appointments for vaccinations is available at oakwood.org/schoolphysicals
It’s also important to remember that despite some media reports, vaccines are very safe. They’re tested before licensing and carefully monitored afterward to ensure their performance.
Listen to Dr. Bakhtyar provide facts and advice about immunizing your child in the clip below from a recent Champions of Care segment on WJR 760 AM.