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Doc Talk | Immunizations, just like shoes and a backpack it's a back to school must have

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Over the years, immunizations have become a controversial topic, but most doctors still swear by them for their ability to prevent deadly diseases and outbreaks. This year, some of the requirements and recommendations have changed.

At the start of the school year, parents like to make sure their kids have new clothes, backpacks and school supplies. But schools like to make sure the children are vaccinated.

"This is the way we provide protection against infectious disease that can cause morbidity and even mortality," said Holy Spirit pediatrician Dr. Joel Rose.

This year there's a new meningitis vaccine specifically aimed at kids heading to college and the military. Both are environments where many people live in close quarters.

"There’s been outbreaks throughout the country with this particular strain of meningitis," said Dr. Rose.

It's a vaccine for meningitis B, which fights off a different strain of meningitis than the vaccine already available. Meningitis can be deadly.

"Meningitis itself is an infection around the brain and spinal cord which can lead to death or catastrophic sequelae, limb amputation, perm brain damage," said Dr. Rose.

Doctors are now also recommending kids get the HPV vaccine before the age of 15. If they do it then, they'll only need two human papilloma virus shots. After the age of 15, they'd need three.

"We’ve always encouraged the parents to immunize their children early rather than waiting til they get well into their teen years because the vaccine works better," said Dr. Rose.

To find out if your child needs any of these immunizations or where they're available, call your doctor.

Holy Spirit is also hosting a free back-to-school session for parents about immunizations on October 14th. You can find more information here.

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