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At the start of every school year, doctors stress the importance of children getting their vaccines, but UT Health San Antonio is also urging parents and grandparents to make sure they are also up to date on vaccines.
Advanced Nurse Practitioner Johanna Matos, with UT Health San Antonio, said as the new school year begins, she is giving a lot of vaccines to children heading back to school.
According to the latest U.S. Census report, more than 58,000 people in Bexar County have grandchildren under the age of 18 that live with them. The report says 17,263 of those grandparents are 65 or older.
Certain vaccines can protect the older population from getting sick. Matos said adults over 50 should be vaccinated for whooping cough every 10 years, shingles every five years and the flu every year.
The vaccines are crucial because the older the caretaker, the more vulnerable they are to getting sick.
“Just like you are not as strong physically or mentally, your body is not as strong to fight off infections,” Matos said.
On Wednesday, 7-year-old Dillon and his family visited the doctor so he and his sister could get a checkup. Matos said during checkups such as Dillon’s, she asks parents and grandparents if they are up to date on their vaccines.
Dillon’s grandparents watch him and his sister several times a week, and Matos said they need protection from sickness, too.
As children go back to school, they are more prone to illness because germs can easily spread in close, shared environments such as classrooms. But it’s not just children who can get sick from these germs.
“There are germs that kids can share with any other provider or any family member that lives with them. whether its grandparents, whether it’s aunts or uncles,” Matos said.
Another vaccine that is important for adults or grandparents to make sure they are update on is the MMR vaccine, which protects against the mumps and measles.
Matos said with recent measles outbreaks, it’s important that grandparents check their records to make sure they received these lifetime vaccinations when they were young.