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Did you know that Minnesota state law requires students to be fully vaccinated, or have a notarized exemption form on file, before they start school in the fall? Children generally need updated vaccines before they start kindergarten and 7th grade. Preschoolers are also required to be current on all their vaccines, and as long as they have been getting vaccinated on the recommended schedule, they are probably properly vaccinated for preschool. Parents of children entering preschool, kindergarten, and 7th grade receive detailed information from me about the required vaccinations.

Reliable Sources of Immunization Information

There is a lot of misinformation that goes around about vaccinations, and yes, there are children who legitimately cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. For the vast majority of people, though, vaccines are safe and effective (and not part of an evil Big Pharma scheme). For more information about immunizations and the diseases they prevent, check out the following websites:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Consumer-focused immunization website providing easy-to-understand health information to help make informed decisions about immunizations. The content is managed by HHS, but the site is done in collaboration with other government agencies such as CDC and FDA.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention For Parents: Vaccines for Your Children

Provides immunization information specifically for parents. The information can be viewed based on your child’s age. There are also links to parent-friendly immunization schedules and fact sheets about diseases and the vaccines that prevent them.

American Academy of Pediatrics Immunization Initiatives

Provides comprehensive immunization information for parents and health professionals.

Minnesota Department of Health Immunization Program

Provides information on child, adolescent, adult immunization schedules, policy, laws, and the diseases vaccines prevent. For specific information on vaccine safety, click on the vaccine safety link in the left column.

Vaccines Save Lives

It has been over two centuries since Edward Jenner demonstrated how vaccination could prevent small pox. Since then, many diseases that cause severe debilitation and even death, some once common, have become preventable through immunizations. Although these illness may seem too distant to worry about, epidemics of disease have shown to break out wherever vaccination levels are compromised, and where “herd immunity” is no longer strong enough to protect those who, for whatever reason, are not vaccinated. Please remember that by vaccinating your children, you protect not only them but also the community as a whole. The discomfort of “all those shots,” or any minor side effects in no way compare to the devastation caused by the diseases they work to prevent. Please keep your children current with their vaccinations. It is more than the law; it is for their protection.