As Chester County begins to experience life without COVID restrictions, summer vacations, summer camps, and other activities are well underway. According to the Chester County Health Department, a key lesson learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is the effectiveness of vaccines.
“We all saw first-hand how proper vaccination levels across our county mitigate the spread of viruses,” said Jeanne Franklin, director of the Chester County Health Department. “We cannot forget that our children need routine vaccinations to remain healthy and free from a variety of other viruses and diseases, and many of the vaccines are required to attend school.”
Current health department data indicates that children across Chester County are behind in their routine vaccinations, including those needed to attend school. This is likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic – vaccination requirements were paused for students, and many healthcare practices were forced to temporarily close, or offer limited services.
Pennsylvania requires children to have specific vaccines before they enter school, and students who do not meet vaccine requirements within five days of the start of school are not permitted in school until the requirements are met.
“Vaccines are safe, effective, and an important part of keeping children healthy year-round,” Franklin added. “As a parent, making sure your children are vaccinated on time is an important step toward ensuring their long-term health. Proper vaccination among school-aged children promotes health and prevents disease outbreaks in schools and childcare settings, and keeps our children learning.”
The Chester County Health Department encourages all families and pediatricians to join a county-wide “Call to Action” to catch children up on their vaccinations, so they can remain healthy, and can return to in-person school. Childhood vaccinations are covered by health insurance and Medical Assistance.
“We encourage families to contact their doctor to determine if their child is up-to-date on all vaccinations, and, if needed, make an appointment now to avoid the back-to-school rush,” Franklin said.
Families without a doctor or health insurance can receive vaccinations from the Chester County Health Department at no cost. A parent or guardian must accompany their child and bring prior vaccine records. Visit the Health Department website at: chesco.org/immunize or call (610) 344-6225 for information and appointments.