School shots and flu shots
California vaccination requirements
In 2016, our state updated its childhood vaccination requirements. Now you have to immunize your child against polio (infantile paralysis), measles, mumps. rubella (can cause problems like Zika does if contracted during pregnancy) , diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus (lockjaw), hepatitis B and chickenpox in order to be enrolled in school, whether public or private.
Those are scary illnesses, so this is good news! Life is full of problems which can't be prevented, but these illnesses can be, and the more people who are immunized, the better the vaccine works for everyone.
For my take on why immunizations are so good for your child, click here. For an article I wrote for the Jewish Journal about the measles vaccine, click here.
For a summary of the new state policy, click here for a link to the California Department of Education's "Immunization & Health Checkup" page.
Should my kids get flu shots?
Short answer: yes. The flu shot is not perfect, but it's the best thing we have for preventing influenza. And getting a flu shot is more likely than any other immunization that we can offer to prevent an actual illness this season!
Your chance of being exposed to influenza varies from almost 100 percent, if you work in a primary care medical office or a school, to almost zero if you and your children never leave your house and receive all your food and clothing by delivery.
If the flu season is especially severe this year, there may be shortages of the vaccine once it starts. So it's best to get immunized in the fall, when there's plenty of vaccine to go around.
Most of the time, influenza isn't really that big a deal -- usually only 100 or so children and teenagers die from it per year in the United States.
But an average case of the flu will cost your child a week of school and will cost you a week of work. And what's more, many times -- if not most of the time -- people with influenza are so sick they can't even enjoy their time off from school or work.
So pick up the phone and make arrangements to come in for a shot! Dr. Keene himself gets one every year, so chances are he'll be in the office to see you -- for his patients -- as opposed to being absent for weeklong illness this winter.
For information on vaccinations for teens, click here.
For information on vaccinations for newborns, click here.