Title: Colorado Urges Vaccination as Students Return to School Amidst COVID-19 Concerns
As children across Colorado gear up to return to school, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is urging residents to prioritize vaccinations for themselves and their families. The call for vaccination comes as the state grapples with a new COVID-19 variant of concern circulating within its borders.
Alarming immunization rates have prompted concern, as school-required vaccines have fallen below 90% for the second consecutive year at the start of the 2022-2023 school year. To tackle this issue head-on, San Juan Basin Public Health is hosting back-to-school clinics specifically for middle school students, ensuring they are up to date on routine vaccinations.
Maintaining up-to-date vaccinations is crucial for students, as it aids in overall health and prevents the spread of communicable diseases such as measles, mumps, flu, RSV, and norovirus. The required vaccines for child care and school entry include Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTap), Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Inactivated poliovirus (IPV), Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13 or PCV15), Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), and Varicella (chickenpox).
The conclusion of the public health emergency related to COVID-19 has raised concerns about access to resources. Although it might become more complicated to obtain resources related to COVID-19, San Juan Basin Public Health continues to provide free tests and masks in their lobbies.
Additionally, there have been reports of the EG.5 COVID-19 subvariant being detected in the state, although it has not been found in La Plata or Archuleta counties, according to wastewater monitoring.
As part of the ongoing effort to combat COVID-19, a new booster shot is expected to be available this fall. However, official guidance on who should receive it is still pending.
Importantly, uninsured or underinsured children and adults on Medicaid will still have access to free vaccines once they are made commercially available.
Looking ahead, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is closely monitoring the development of this year’s flu vaccine and a respiratory syncytial virus vaccine, expected to be available for adults later in the year.
As students prepare to return to school, taking proactive measures such as vaccinating against preventable diseases can significantly contribute to a safer and healthier learning environment for all.
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