It’s Back to School Time—Are Your Shots Up to Date?

August is Immunization Awareness Month and a good reminder not to underestimate the importance of immunizations. In the case of small pox, the World Health Assembly declared it eradicated, but it is the only infectious disease to reach this status. Other diseases—including polio and diphtheria—are close but still maintain a presence. Failure to vaccinate children puts others at risk. Even a few isolated cases of these diseases are capable of spreading and undoing the progress that has been done.

Back to School Immunization

For a cautionary tale about the importance of vaccinating, look no farther than Japan. In the mid-1970s, the country had nearly eliminated pertussis (whooping cough) with just a few hundred cases remaining. When word got out about the progress, some parents chose not to vaccinate their kids for the disease. Within just five years, the disease surged with 13,000 reported cases of whooping cough.

Parents are primarily responsible for keeping track of kids’ immunizations. If you have misplaced your child’s records, reach out to past health providers or school nurses. Most states and some cities also keep vaccination registries that could help you piece together your child’s shot history.

When you visit your health care provider, ask for an “official record” of the vaccinations (signed by a provider). Keep the record in a safe place in your home—perhaps in a vinyl (waterproof) folder.
For more details about what shots are required at specific ages, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.