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Check kids’ shot records

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It's back-to-school time, which means parents are busy with the activities that traditionally accompany a new school year, from shopping for new clothes to checking bus schedules and purchasing school supplies. The Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging parents to add an important annual check-up to their back-to-school checklist: their children's immunization schedules.

This is important for all children, whether they are in preschool or high school, but it's most important for those who are too young to walk any school hallway this year — children under the age of two.

Before age two, children need to complete a series of more than 16 vaccines to protect them from more than 10 preventable diseases. These immunizations can be complete in seven visits to a health care provider.

It's important for parents to think about this regularly because the recommended immunization schedule has been modified due to the improvements made to current vaccinations and the introduction of new vaccines.

This year, two new vaccines were added to the AAP-recommended immunization schedule: Hepatitis A and PCV7. PCV7 protects against serious pneumococcal infections including meningitis, pneumonia and pneumococcal bacteremia. Pneumococcal infections are the most common invasive bacterial infections in children in the U.S. About 1,400 cases of meningitis, 17,000 cases of bloodstream infections, and 71,000 cases of pneumonia are caused by these infections every year in children under five.

By working together we can make sure our children's health is a top priority.

Jeff Schunk, M.D.

President, American Academy of Pediatrics,

Utah Chapter

Salt Lake City