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4 important questions about immunization schedules for Oklahoma children

Immunizations provide numerous benefits for adolescents. Kaleb Vaughn, D.O., pediatrician and internal medicine specialist for Utica Park Clinic Pryor, discusses the importance of child immunizations.

Why is it important for my child to follow the recommended immunization schedule?

The vaccination schedule is based on decades of research on the child’s immune system, their response to vaccines and the diseases that we vaccinate against. Just like how your child develops through milestones, so does the immune system. The timing of vaccinations is based on when the immune system best responds to them (make antibodies to fight infection), and when the child is most susceptible to a particular disease. In the first year, we primarily vaccinate against the pathogens that are most deadly, including pneumococcus, tetanus, polio, pertussis and rotavirus.

If a child fails to get these immunizations, they will be dependent on other children or family members to get their vaccinations. With decreasing vaccination rates, we are seeing some of the old diseases, including the first U.S. case of polio in a long time just this summer. Delayed vaccine schedules are largely untested and put the child at risk during certain ages. However, ultimately, a delayed schedule is probably better than none at all. Talk to your pediatrician or family medicine doctor if you are hesitant about vaccinations.

What should I do if my child is behind in their immunization schedule?

Catch-up schedules have been developed and tested for a child behind on their vaccinations to be brought up to date. The sooner a child is brought up to date, the safer they will be.

Where can I find immunization locations near me?

Your local pediatrician or family medicine doctor are the best places to start vaccinations and get established. The local health department is also able to give vaccinations.

What immunizations are requirements in Oklahoma?

The required vaccinations for schools can found at the Oklahoma State Department of Health website or call 405-426-8580.

To schedule your immunization appointment, click here or call 918-579-3627.