Hudson Valley Parent

HVP October 2016

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20 Hudson Valley Parent n October 2016 nization requirements for all chil- dren in childcare, nursery school, pre-kindergarten programs and grades K through 12 are established as part of the state public health law. There are no separate laws or regulations for immunizations of children with developmental disabilities, although documented medical and religious exemptions are allowed. The CDC - which recommends that all children be vaccinated ac- cording to the recommended sched- ule - has found that the country's vaccination exemption rates are low. In its 2014-2015 report, they found that state exemption levels ranged from less than 0.1 percent to 6.5 percent, with the overall national vaccination exemption at 1.7 percent. "For most special needs children, there's no vaccine that they would need to worry about," says Dr. Fish- er – although there are instances when vaccinating might be con- tra-indicated, such as if a child with special needs was on a medicine that altered his immune system, she adds. "The trends really haven't changed a lot," said Fisher. "We know that children with special needs may get sicker with these diseases so we particularly want to ensure that they're immunized." Special concerns While there's no evidence that children with special needs have more reactions to vaccines than other kids do, Dr, Fisher says that because the fever caused by some immunizations can trigger a seizure in kids that have a seizure disorder, some doctors administer an anti-fe- ver medication when immunizing them. While some people worry about the metals used in vaccines, Dr. Fisher says the quantities of alu- minum (small amounts of which have been added to vaccines since the 1930s to help the body build stronger immunity against the germ in the vaccine), for example, aren't (with a few notable exceptions) as antibiotic resistance may develop. Some parents, whether their chil- dren have special needs or not, re- main hesitant to having their child immunized, Dr. Fisher says, perhaps because they've heard, read or were told things that gave them pause. "In fact, it's very important that they immunize their children to pro- tect them," she says, especially since children with special needs are often directly involved with kids of all abilities at school, in camps and in other settings, which may leave them vulnerable to diseases they're not fully protected against. School rules In New York State, school immu- tion rate for all kids, it can cause a conundrum for families because kids with special needs face big- ger risks of hospitalization or even death from the flu. Other conditions may also war- rant special consideration, like the America Heart Association sugges- tion that children with congenital heart defects may actually need less medication to get through an ill- ness. They also caution against giv- ing antibiotics to prevent infections VACCINES (Continued from Page 19) Robbie and his three siblings (from left to right: Andrew White, Heather White [holding Rob- bie] and Kristopher White). Because of Robbie's reaction to some of his vaccines, his mom, Tracy, opted to not give him the complete battery of immunizations.

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