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Why one Colorado doctor wants you to get the polio vaccine right now

August is Immunization Awareness Month
August is Immunization Awareness Month 03:51

As kids head back to school, they'll need more than new supplies. Many students will be getting a new round of required vaccines.

Getting vaccinated
Close up of a mother taking her daughter to the pediatrician to get vaccinated / Getty Images

August is Immunization Awareness Month, a time to make sure we are all up to date on required vaccinations. The most common vaccines kids will need are for measles, mumps, whooping cough, and polio.

"These vaccines truly have made an impact on getting rid of these illnesses, which is why parents may not have heard of them or experienced them," says Dr. Reggie Washington, Chief Medical Officer of Presbyterian/St. Luke's and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

Nurse putting band aid on patient's arm after covid-19 vaccination
Nurse putting band aid on patient's arm after covid-19 vaccination / Getty Images

Since the end of last school year, the COVID vaccine has been approved for children under the age of five.

"The majority of children in that age group who are eligible to receive the vaccine have not taken advantage of it. That's going to become a potential problem when school starts, and those children could become more likely to get or even spread COVID throughout the community."

Vaccines aren't just for kids. Many adults lose track of their immunizations and should talk with their healthcare provider who can make sure they are all up to date.

Male doctor giving vaccine to senior man in medical clinic during pandemic
Maskot Bildbyrå / Getty Images

"If adults have not had a polio vaccine, they need to get that. The importance of that shot has become obvious as there is now a case of polio on the east coast and they're even finding evidence of polio in the wastewater in New York City. That means there are vulnerable populations who can get polio, so you want to make sure you have had that vaccine."

Dr. Washington says many people skipped their immunizations during the pandemic, which is why now is the best time to check in with your healthcare provider.

"The percentage of children who have been immunized went down during COVID, and that's a problem in our state because Colorado already lagged behind the national average before COVID."

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