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MSU Doctor Recommends Vaccination Update As School Starts

Dr. Amy Keenum photo
Scott Pohl
Dr. Amy Keenum

With school starting in many districts before Labor Day this year, parents are being reminded to update their kids’ vaccinations.

Dr. Amy Keenum is a vaccination advocate in the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. She tells WKAR’s Scott Pohl that it’s important for every school-aged child to be seen by their physician to assess the need for immunizations.

"There are many shots that are required, and I think it's good for people to have a conversation with their health care provider," Dr. Keenum explains. "The parents aren't really expected to remember all the shots, but the providers have different organizations that update these every year, and they do change quite often."

Babies get a lot of immunizations before the age of 2 and more before entering Kindergarten. It's time for another set at around age 11 or 12.

Dr. Keenum also recommends the annual flu vaccine.

Adults need to keep up to date with their vaccinations, too, according to Dr. Keenum. "As a family doctor, I would certainly say that immunizations are important throughout life. If you have different health issues, you might be recommended to have certain immunizations," she adds.

Otherwise healthy people should keep their tetanus shot up to date, Dr. Keenum advises; additionally, some people should get a pneumonia or a shingles vaccine.

Patients should be aware of the possible side effects of vaccines, though the numbers are quite small. Usually, information is given at the time of a vaccination regarding the side effects that could occur. Dr. Keenum concludes that "there are no drugs with no side effects. If a person gets a vaccine and they think they're having a side effect, they should contact their health care provider."

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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