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Hospital prompts parents to check immunization records before the new school year

FORT KENT, Maine — One of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health is to get their child vaccinated against preventable childhood diseases. Immunizations can save a child’s life. Serious health consequences can arise if children are not vaccinated. Without vaccines, children are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their playgroups, child care centers, classrooms and communities. This includes spreading diseases to babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.

Because of advances in medical science, a child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children are no longer common in the U.S. — primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines have had in the U.S. Polio was once America’s most feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but thanks to vaccination, the U.S. has been polio-free since 1979. Due to continual worldwide vaccination efforts, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries in the world that have never interrupted the spread of wild poliovirus, and only small pockets of polio still exist in these countries.

As the start of the new school year approaches, it is a great time to check a child’s vaccination records to make sure they are up-to-date and protected from harm. Remember, a healthy start begins with on-time vaccinations. To find out more, ask your child’s health care professional.

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Submitted by the Communications Office of Northern Maine Medical Center.

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