Health officials stress the importance of children staying up-to-date on vaccines this year

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – As we start to see students go back to school and as we prepare for others to do the same, health officials are highly encouraging getting those back-to-school vaccinations out of the way before the first day. 

Chief Medical Officer Angela Barker with New River Health wants to make sure parents and students are not forgetting about them as this year is crucial.

“So Pre-K to Kindergarten, they have four shots they need to get: Polio, tetanus, MMR, and the chicken pox vaccine and 7th graders and 12th graders need to get some vaccines before they start to school,” Barker said. 

The return to school will not just be a busy time for the teachers and staff, the Fayette County Health Department is preparing for what that could mean in terms of testing and keeping COVID under control and part of that is not having to worry about other outbreaks.  

“Now is even more important that we’re up to date, and we’re not getting sick from other things that we had under pretty good control like pertussis or measles and things like that,” Fayette County Health Officer Dr. Anita Stewart said. “So definitely getting those vaccines before school is important and then when the flu vaccine is available we absolutely recommend a flu vaccine this year as well.”

The health department is expecting to get their flu shots in October and New River Health expects theirs toward the end of November.

For now, it is about getting the right immunizations for that September 8 start date. 

“You can just call and make an appointment to get your vaccines,” Barker said. “It’s really important because I think a lot of kids got behind with the stay at home orders so parent lacked getting those vaccines especially this year.” 

Once school begins, students will be able to get their vaccines at their school-based health centers with New River Health.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.