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Importance of back-to-school vaccines

Children should be immunized to protect their health and prevent classroom outbreaks.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., -- Outbreaks of pertussis have been affecting schools. More than 28,000 cases of this highly contagious disease were reported in 2014 in the United States, many in school-age children.[2] Children with pertussis can develop a severe cough that lasts for weeks or even months. Infected children also can pass pertussis onto unvaccinated infant siblings, who face the greatest risk of serious illness and death.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommendations, pregnant women, family members, and caretakers also should be vaccinated to protect infants, especially those too young to get their own immunizations.

The flu season also follows fast on the heels of the new school year. The flu can be serious, and each year about 20,000 children younger than 5 years of age are hospitalized with flu complications. The best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine, with rare exception. This is especially important for pregnant women who face a higher risk of flu complications for themselves and their babies, according to the CDC. (SOURCE: March of Dimes)

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