With H1N1 influenza, back to school immunizations even more important

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ARDMORE, OK – With measles, chicken pox, whooping cough, and now even H1N1 to worry about when it comes to sending your kids off to school for the fall, immunizations are important as ever. The good news is there are vaccines to help prevent many of those illnesses, and one on the way for swine flu. Daniel Armbruster sat down with health experts and parents to talk about vaccines.

While parents may be hesitant to get vaccines after hearing news that some may cause major side effects, the Carter County Health Department says some are required by law for your children to attend school, and the benefits outweigh the risks.

"I don't like getting shots."

Eleven-year old Hanna Keyser says she would rather be playing with friends or surfing the internet right now, or just about anything, besides getting her meningitis vaccine.

Her mom, Tammy Sloan, brought her and her older sister, Tanner, to the Carter County Health Department on Monday to ensure they are caught up on all their necessary vaccines before going back to Plainview Schools this fall.

"It keeps them healthy," Sloan says.

Racheal Moore, a registered nurse with the Carter County Health Department and also a school nurse, says those vaccines can be life savers.

"If a child goes without a vaccine, there's a possibility they're exposed and can then get the disease and spread it from person to person," Moore says.

Moore says the most common vaccinations school aged children need are pertusis (or whooping cough), measles, diphtheria, chicken pox, and influenza. She also says they will need the vaccine for H1N1.

"We are really advising parents to get their child vaccinated against the regular flu season, and since children are going to be in that high risk priority group, once we get that H1N1 vaccine, depending on the availability and how much we get, we're hoping to be able to vaccinate children against that also," Moore says.

Tammy Sloan says the health department even helps out, because their vaccines were free.

If you haven't been able to get those immunizations, there will be a clinic set up Tuesday at the Ardmore Middle School cafeteria for students in 1st to 5th grade. That will start at 8 a.m. and run until 8 p.m.

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