As thousands of children returned to
school Tuesday, county health officials urged parents to make sure their
kids are up-to-date on immunizations.
"Many people in the United
States have never seen the devastating effects that diseases like
whooping cough and measles can have on individuals, families and
communities,'' said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the county's
Department of Public Health. "The truth is that these diseases
still exist, and every year, there are cases of measles, mumps, whooping
cough and other vaccine-preventable diseases reported in Los Angeles
students must show proof that they have received five vaccines that
protect against diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, chickenpox,
measles, mumps, rubella, Hepatitis B and polio.
New seventh-graders must have a single booster vaccination for tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis.
older children and adults should also get vaccinated against infectious
diseases, Fielding said, referring to a list of immunizations
recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
disease outbreaks in schools are rare because the majority of parents
make sure that their children receive all recommended
vaccines,'' Fielding said.
People without insurance coverage for vaccines can call the Los Angeles County Information Line at 211 or go to www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip for referrals to providers who offer free or reduced-charge immunizations.