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After pandemic setback, health officials urge St. Louis parents to make sure their children are vaccinated

Local health officials remind parents and guardians to keep their children up-to-date on life-saving vaccines as they go back into the classroom this fall.
Credit: KSDK
Mother holds her child after he finished receiving a vaccine dose.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Local health professionals raised awareness for National Immunization Awareness Month by urging parents to make sure their little ones are protected against disease as schools reopen this fall.

St. Louis Children’s hospital said when compared to the generations of our grandparents and great-grandparents, fewer people are affected today by dangerous infectious diseases. 

“This reflects decades of effort in vaccine development and administration,” the hospital said in a statement. “For example, wild smallpox was eliminated through a worldwide vaccine program.”

But, they said polio and other infectious agents have not vanished completely. They also said children still need to be vaccinated in order to be protected from disease. 

In Missouri and Illinois, children in school or daycare must be immunized against:

  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B
  • Hepatitis B, diphtheria, and pertussis
  • Tetanus and polio

Earlier this month, there were reports of polio vaccination rates below average in Missouri.

The CDC recommends your child should receive a polio vaccine dose at ages:

  • two months
  • four months
  • six through 18 months
  • four to six years old

With kids returning to the classroom right now, health experts are also pushing young ones to be protected against COVID-19. 

RELATED: Updated COVID boosters are close. But how much will they help?

In Illinois, the CDC said COVID-19 risk is high in Madison and St. Clair counties. In Missouri, it is medium in St. Louis and St. Louis county. It is low in St. Charles county. 

Now, the viral disease monkeypox has become more prevalent in the United States along with COVID-19 and polio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 18, 417 total confirmed monkeypox cases across the country.

The CDC also reports that Missouri currently has about 50 cases of monkeypox. They said monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox.

Reports also said monkeypox risk is low for school-age children and almost all of the current cases are in adults. 

RELATED: Yes, there has been a confirmed monkeypox death in the U.S.

Local health departments report that monkeypox is spread through close contact with bodily fluids, sores, bedding or clothing, or respiratory droplets. Its common symptoms are: 

  • Rash or unusual sores on the face or body
  • Fever and chills
  • Head or muscle aches
  • Swelling of lymph nodes

St. Louis Public Schools has not yet posted information about monkeypox. They said they plan to post details on their COVID-19 dashboard

RELATED: Here’s how you can keep track of monkeypox cases in St. Louis County

The CDC recommends reading vaccine materials and writing them down if you have any questions or concerns before scheduling an appointment for your child. Also, read up on ways to help identify and minimize side effects. 

The St. Louis county Department of Public Health extended its free weekday back-to-school COVID-19 immunizations at all three locations. They offer COVID-19 vaccines for infants as young as 6 months. 

Special Saturday immunization clinics will be held at John C. Murphy Health center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on September 10. 

The clinics will close and no vaccinations will be offered on Labor Day.

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