Health Department: Back to school means time to immunize

RALEIGH – The beginning of a new school year is upon many in North Carolina, and the Department of Human Services’ Division of Public Health reminds parents and guardians of the importance of vaccinations for school-aged children.

Whether children are home-schooled or attend a public, private, charter or religious school, they are required by state law to be up-to-date based on their age for certain vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Following CDC recommendations for vaccines is an essential step parents and guardians should take to protect their children’s health and that of their classmates,” said Wendy Holmes, Head of the N.C. Immunization Branch. “Now is the time to check with your doctor or local health department to find out what vaccines your child needs.”

Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as chicken pox, meningitis, measles, pertussis (whooping cough) and others, are still experienced throughout North Carolina. Keeping children up-to-date on vaccinations is the best way to protect schools and communities from diseases that can cause unnecessary absences from school, illnesses and even deaths.

“Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective and successful means available for preventing disease and death,” said State Health Director Randall Williams, M.D. “They help protect the vaccinated individual and the entire community by reducing and preventing the spread of infectious diseases.”

It is strongly recommended that students receive all age-appropriate, required immunizations before starting classes. Any student who is not age-appropriately vaccinated on the first day of class attendance has 30 calendar days to obtain the required immunizations. No student will be allowed to attend class after the 30-day grace period without proof that all age-appropriate vaccinations have been received.

Required vaccinations can be found at

For more information about immunization and vaccine-preventable diseases visit For questions about vaccines for children or to schedule an appointment for vaccines, call Bladen County Health Department at 910-862-6900.

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