PUTNAM COUNTY — It is almost back-to-school time, which also means it is time to think about getting children vaccinated. The Putnam County Health Department is joining the Ohio Department of Health and the CDC in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. This is the perfect time to get students, and all children, up-to-date on vaccines against many, very serious diseases.

Children who have not been vaccinated for vaccine-preventable disease, like pertussis, measles and mumps, are at greater risk of contracting them, or spreading the disease to high-risk persons, such as infants who are too young to have all the vaccines. People who have conditions that may weaken their immune system are also at greater risk of contracting diseases from those that are not vaccinated.

New requirements for students is beginning with the 2016-2017 school year. All incoming seventh graders must have one dose of the meningococcal vaccine, and all incoming twelfth graders must have a second dose of the vaccine. More information on the meningococcal vaccine requirements can be found at http://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhprograms/bid/immunization/imunchsc.aspx. Incoming kindergarten students are also required to receive certain vaccinations before entering school.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Chapter (Ohio AAP) and ODH suggest parents download the free “Fast Vax Facts” app available in the App Store and on Google Play. “Fast Vax Facts” is a new app featuring valuable, pediatrician-approved immunization resources for parents and guardians. A link to the App can be found at www.OhioAAP.org/FVF.

The Putnam County Health Department provides immunizations during regular clinic hours: Every Tuesday, 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m., with extended hours until 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Clinic hours are also held on the fourth Wednesday of each month, 9 to 11:30 a.m. Please call the health department at 419-523-5608 for an appointment. Most major health insurances are accepted.