BATH, N.Y. (WENY) – With the first day of school quickly approaching in the Southern Tier, as well as August being National Immunization Awareness Month, Steuben County Public Health officials want to remind parents and guardians of the importance of keeping their children's vaccinations up to date.

Officials say babies under 2-years-old should be vaccinated to protect from 14 diseases. Additionally, school-aged children are required, by law, to continue with a recommended vaccination schedule for the best protection against preventable diseases.

A new development this school year is that in New York State, non-medical (i.e. religious) exemptions are no longer accepted by schools. All children attending schools, day cares or riding school buses must be properly vaccinated in order to participate.

The mandate comes in the wake of a massive measles outbreak in Rockland County and New York City. The majority of cases were found to be in Orthodox Jewish Community, where large groups of children were unvaccinated.

“Vaccines don’t just protect the individual child,” county Public Health Education Coordinator Lorelei Wagner said. “Immunization is a shared responsibility. Vaccinating each child can help protect the entire community—especially babies who are too young to be vaccinated or protected fully.”
Officials also wish to stress that the need for vaccinations does not end with childhood. Every year, tens of thousands of adults in the United States suffer from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines, such as the flu, pneumonia, hepatitis B and the human papilloma virus (HPV).

NYS required vaccines for the 2019-2020 school year can be found here.

Recommended vaccines for adults can be found here.

Steuben Public Health participates in the Vaccines for Children and the Vaccines for Adults programs and has vaccines available for those who are uninsured or have insurance that does not cover vaccines. Call 607-664-2438 to schedule an appointment for vaccinations.