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Get Your Child Caught up on Vaccinations as School Starts

It’s not too late! There is still plenty of time to get your child caught up on vaccines as school starts. With the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents have missed their child’s annual pediatric visit, which may have led to missed immunizations. Texas schools cannot require your child to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but they do require children to be up to date on other vaccines before school starts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends several vaccines throughout childhood and adolescence. By missing an appointment for a scheduled vaccine, children may be at risk for the following diseases, to name a few.


Measles starts with a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash that spreads from the face to the rest of the body. The measles virus is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing. Complications of measles can include lung infections and brain inflammation.


Mumps presents with a fever, headache, loss of appetite and swollen salivary glands. The mumps virus can be transmitted through respiratory secretions such as saliva. Complications can include deafness, inflammation of testicles or ovaries, brain swelling or infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.


Rubella has a similar measles-like rash that is associated with a fever, headache, pink eye, cough and swollen lymph nodes. The rubella virus is spread through coughing and sneezing. Serious complications are mostly seen in a pregnant woman’s developing baby such as birth defects that impact the heart, brain, eyes and ears.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Pertussis usually presents with mild respiratory symptoms and progresses to vomiting after severe coughing fits and a ‘whoop’ sound when taking in a deep breath. This disease is very contagious, and symptoms can last up to eight weeks or longer. One of the main complications is a lung infection.

We do not see as many people infected with measles, mumps, rubella or whooping cough in the United States anymore, because most of the population has been vaccinated against these diseases.

Vaccines are safe and effective! The MMR vaccine is 97% effective against measles, 88% effective against mumps and 97% against rubella. The DTaP/Tdap vaccine is 95-100% effective against pertussis and the CDC recommends that everyone receive a Tdap booster every 10 years. There are other recommended vaccines that are available that protect our children from polio, meningococcal disease, tetanus and more!

Let’s keep our children strong and healthy with up-to-date immunizations so their only focus is learning!

To find out more about the recommended vaccine schedule, visit


Information provided by Brenda Karagozian, MD. Dr. Karagozian is a family medicine physician at UT Health East Texas Physicians at Lake Palestine in Flint. She sees patients ages 3 and older. To schedule an appointment, visit: or call 903-825-3292.


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