DURHAM (WTVD) -- With a new school year about to start, health officials are reminding you to make sure your children are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
"For Pre-K and kindergartners, we want to definitely make sure they're up to date on their MMR (measles mumps rubella) and the vaccine for chicken pox (varicella,)" explains Nicole Swiner, MD, with Durham Family Physicians.
In addition to those vaccinations, 4 to 6 year olds need to have their DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) for whooping cough and tetanus, along with IPV, for polio.
For more on requirements for 4-6 year olds, click here.
Students entering 7th grade, or who are about to turn 12, must now have a Tdap booster for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. They are also required to have the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which is a protection against meningitis.
These requirements are new this year, giving students 30 days from the start of the school year to comply before being suspended.
For more on requirements for 7th grade, click here.
"I think they're really important, not only for the protection of that particular patient, but also for what's called herd immunity," Swiner said. "You're protecting the people around you."
She also cautions that cases of whooping cough are emerging in some areas in central North Carolina.
"We got a report from the Orange County Health Department, and I think we had a number of cases in Durham, but it's definitely spreading," she shares.
As for the safety of vaccines, Swiner stands by the medical community at large in supporting them. She encourages patients to do their research and separate fact from fiction.
"There's a lot of information out there on the internet and the media that is not correct, like with the MMR vaccine. It was actually proven that the reports were falsified that it was a dangerous vaccine."
Swiner has advice for parents that are still skeptical.
"Be honest about it, bring it up to your doctor. If you have stories or articles that people have shared with you, bring it to the doctor's visit so you can talk about it," she says.
For more common questions about vaccines including their safety, click here.
North Carolina only allows exemptions for medical and religious reasons.
For more on exemptions, click here.
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