MSDC Urges DC Residents to Make Back-to-School Vaccinations a Family Affair
Friday, August 19, 2016
Medical Society of the District of Columbia Urges DC Residents to Make Back-to-School Vaccinations a Family Affair and Ensure That All Family Members are Up-to-Date on Immunizations
Patients of All Ages Are Vulnerable to Vaccine-preventable Illnesses
WASHINGTON, DC (August 19, 2016) –The Medical Society of the District of Columbia (MSDC), the largest medical organization in the District of Columbia representing Washington-area physicians, today encouraged DC parents to get their children the required school vaccinations and to have a conversation with their health care provider about the appropriate vaccine schedule for the entire family. Herd immunity – or the protection conferred on an entire community when a high enough percentage of its members are vaccinated – is critical not only to DC students, but residents of all ages, and particularly for those vulnerable populations unable to be vaccinated, including infants, the elderly, and those who are immunocompromised.
“Vaccines are one of the most effective public health tools for protecting our students from a broad range of potentially dangerous illnesses, including measles, mumps, whooping cough, and meningitis. However, the threat of disease and the protection conferred by vaccines are not limited to our children,” said MSDC President Carla C. Sandy, MD. “MSDC encourages parents having back-to-school conversations with their health care providers to ask about the most appropriate vaccine schedule for their entire family, including college-age students returning to school and parents or grandparents who are also susceptible to vaccine-preventable illnesses.”
College-age students are among the most susceptible to meningitis, a potentially fatal bacterial illness that can also lead to brain damage, hearing loss and loss of limbs. Because meningitis spreads quickly among those living in close quarters, students living in dormitories are at increased risk, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Colleges across the country have recently reported cases of meningitis, including a case of meningitis B at Georgetown University in 2014. There are now vaccines available for all strains of meningitis.
The CDC also reports that adult vaccination rates are low for most routinely recommended vaccines, including tetanus (62.9%), shingles (24.2%), pertussis (14.2%) and pneumococcal disease (21.2%), particularly among those adults at high risk because of chronic heart disease, lung diseases such as asthma, liver disease, and other risk factors.
“Vaccines are critical for children and adults alike,” added Dr. Sandy. “As a practicing OB-GYN, I am focused every day on the health of expectant mothers and new babies who are too young to avail themselves of the protection of vaccines. It is important for all DC residents to have conversations with their health care providers about how to best protect themselves and our community through appropriate immunizations.”
For more information about DC school immunization requirements, visit the DC Department of Health website: http://doh.dc.gov/service/immunization
For more information from the CDC on immunizations, including the recommended CDC immunization schedules, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/
For more information on vaccines and pregnant women, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/pregnant-women/
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About the Medical Society of the District of Columbia (MSDC)
With over 2,500 members, the Medical Society of the District of Columbia (MSDC) is the largest medical organization in the District representing metropolitan Washington physicians. MSDC is dedicated to the well-being of the physicians in metropolitan Washington and their patients. Since 1817, MSDC has been supporting and advocating for patients, physicians, the medical profession and the betterment of public health. Our membership comprises licensed physicians, medical residents, medical students and allied health professionals in metropolitan Washington. For more, visit www.msdc.org.