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N.S. health department encourages parents to vaccinate children before school

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. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lee Brown

The Nova Scotia Department of Health is reminding and encouraging families to make sure their immunizations are up-to-date beginning this fall.

Vaccines lower the risk of infection and helps people develop immunity to diseases like whooping cough, measles and many others.

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“As September approaches, it’s important parents and guardians make sure their children’s – and their own – immunizations are up-to-date and to keep a record of them,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, in a media release.

“Vaccines protect you and your children, as well as those around you, from a number of serious diseases,” he added.

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The health department says before starting school, children between the ages of four and six should receive a booster of Tdap-IPV vaccine to protect them against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and polio.

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They may also need a second dose of MMRV vaccine to protect against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.

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Early in the school year, kids in grade seven will get to receive HPV, hepatitis B, meningococcal quadrivalent and Tdap vaccines at school-based clinics, with information booklets and consent forms to be provided to students.

“A health-care provider can determine the necessary vaccines for children and adults to ensure their vaccines are up to date,” Strang said.

Strang is also encouraging adults to make sure they have all the necessary vaccines to protect themselves and those around them.

“Maintaining high rates of vaccination helps prevent further spread and outbreaks of many diseases,” he said.

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According to the health department, adults born in 1970 or later who have not received two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine should be immunized.

Adults should also receive a booster dose against diphtheria and tetanus, and where appropriate, pertussis, every 10 years.

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Anyone with high-risk conditions may require additional doses and may be eligible for additional vaccines.