Back to School Season Asks: “Is Your Child Up to Date on Vaccinations?”

Local Doctor Says Immunizations Protect Children and Community

DAYTON, Ohio (Aug., 8, 2012) – Back to school season is here. In addition to notebooks, pencils and folders, some children will require vaccinations before entering the school year.

Anessa Alappatt, MD, a primary care physician at Fairborn Medical Center, part of Premier HealthNet, says immunizations are one of the most important medical treatments a child receives, which is why children are required to be up to date on vaccinations before starting school for the first time.

“Immunizations are the best thing we have to prevent life-threatening illnesses,” said Dr. Alappatt. “It’s such an easy and significant thing to do to protect a child’s life, and it’s certainly worth it.”

Children first receive immunizations as newborns before leaving the hospital. Most immunizations are given by the time a child is 18 months old, with the majority occurring within the first six months of life. From there, more boosters and vaccinations are given before a child enters kindergarten and then additional vaccinations are given at age 12, including tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, meningitis and HPV. Parents can visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website to view a complete vaccination schedule online.

According to Dr. Alappatt, parents often voice concern that receiving too many vaccinations can harm a child. She assures parents that that is not the case. She explains that infants and children receive so many vaccines at a young age because that’s when they are most susceptible to diseases, and getting one vaccine versus five vaccines at one time has no negative impact on health.

“We should be thankful we have so many vaccines available to us,” said Dr. Alappatt. “The more vaccines that are developed, the more epidemic diseases we can prevent. Less and less children are dying, so immunizations are a huge medical advancement.”

Misconceptions that immunizations will cause health issues still exist; however, these claims have been proven false on multiple occasions. Dr. Alappatt says that even though there are possible side effects that a vaccine might cause, they are small in comparison to the risk of the illness.

According to Dr. Alappatt, the most common adverse reactions to immunizations include achiness, redness and swelling at the shot site, headache and fever. There is also potential for an allergic reaction, which is the case with any medication or drug. If any concerns arise after receiving a vaccine, a primary care physician should be consulted.

Skipping immunizations or spreading them out further than recommended not only puts the child at risk to life-threatening diseases, but it puts other children at risk. In fact, diseases can reemerge if vaccines are not received.

“Not only is it important for your child to get vaccinated at the right time, it’s important for the community,” Dr. Alappatt said. “For example, if a child, who has not been vaccinated for chicken pox, visits a grandparent who has shingles, they could go back to preschool and give their peers chicken pox.”

The concern of spreading disease is one of the reasons why schools require students to be vaccinated before kindergarten and at age 12. Premier HealthNet’s MyChart program, a patient portal for the health system’s electronic medical records system, gives parents the ability to easily track when their children are due for immunizations, and ensure they are up to date in order to attend school.

To learn more about immunizations and MyChart or find a Premier HealthNet primary care physician near you, visit

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