August is Immunization Awareness Month, and doctors are using the focus to urge parents to put immunizations on their back-to-school checklists. “It's a good time of year to get an annual check-up and to make sure that you and your kids are all up to date on your vaccines,” says Tyler Ladue, MD, a family medicine physician at Loma Linda University Health. “The best way to avoid the spread of preventable diseases, especially in young people, is to get all recommended vaccines.”

Recommendations on vaccination come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although there’s been some public opposition to vaccines, Ladue says the process is extremely safe.

“We know from decades of research that vaccines are not only extraordinarily safe, but they work,” he says. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there — both in various social circles and online — but we recommend talking to your primary care doctor if you have any questions or concerns about vaccinating your family.”

Ladue says a back-to-school checklist should have a primary care appointment to address not only immunizations but other health concerns.

When going back to school, Ladue says physicians are checking that a child is up-to-date on vaccinations that keep them immune to 16 preventable diseases, including chickenpox, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio

“When your kids are immune, they’re bringing that immunity into the classroom, which will protect kids who are medically exempt due to physical conditions that prevent them from receiving a vaccine,” Ladue says.

“The alternative to getting these vaccines is rolling the dice and hoping you and your family don’t get sick from one of these preventable infectious diseases,” he says. “In terms of staying healthy, this is a big step that you can take for you and your family.”

If you or your child aren’t up-to-date on vaccinations, the CDC provides a catch-up schedule. You can also go to your primary care location and have them check the state database to see what you may need.

Visit our appointment page to get quick access to the care you need, where you can schedule an appointment online or through MyChart. You can also schedule an appointment or request more information by calling 909-558-6600.