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Westover, Md. – The Somerset County Health Department will again hold their annual mass back to school vaccination clinics on August 26, 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, on September 9 and 16 from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm and again on September 23 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Free vaccinations are for students entering Kindergarten through 5th grades, and those entering 7th through 12th grades attending Somerset County Schools this fall. The clinic will be held at the health department at 8928 Sign Post Road, Suite 2 in Westover.

For the 2019—2020 school year, all children entering Kindergarten through 5th grades are required to have two doses of the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine. Children entering 7th through 12th grades are required to have the Tdap and Meningococcal vaccines. The health department is also encouraging youth to have the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine beginning at age 11 or 12.

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV), also known as chickenpox, used to be a common illness among children in the United States, particularly those under age 12. It is an itchy rash of spots that look like blisters and can appear all over the body and be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Chickenpox is very contagious. The varicella vaccine significantly reduces the chances of getting chickenpox. And if a child does get chickenpox after the vaccination, it tends to be a milder case and quicker recovery compared to those who contract the virus and are not immunized.

Tdap is a booster vaccine for older children, adolescents, and adults. It safely protects against three dangerous diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also called whooping cough). Pertussis is a contagious disease that causes violent coughing fits that make it hard to breathe. It spreads easily when someone with the disease coughs or sneezes. The cough can last for months. Tetanus causes a severe, painful tightening (spasms) of muscles, including of the jaw (‘lockjaw’), which can limit swallowing and breathing. Diphtheria is a throat infection that can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure and death.

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness. It is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2 through 18 years old in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain and the spinal cord.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of various cancers. Preteens have a higher response to the vaccine than older teens. The HPV vaccine is a series of two vaccines.

No appointment is necessary. Parents must bring a current vaccination record at the time of the visit.

For more information call the health department at 443-523-1700.

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