August is Immunization Awareness Month and the Livingston County Department of Health would like to remind everyone how important vaccines are in protecting children from serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases.

Given the recent outbreaks of measles and pertussis (also called whooping cough), it’s important that children be protected from these dangerous and highly contagious diseases.

As you get ready to send your children back to school, schedule a visit to their physician or clinic to make sure your child has the needed vaccines.

Most schools require children to be up to date on vaccinations before starting school, in order to protect the health of all students. NYS has recently eliminated the religious exemption as a reason not to have your child vaccinated. Vaccines protect your child everywhere they go. Some diseases, like whooping cough, can be deadly for newborns or infants who are too young to receive the vaccination. By vaccinating family members, you are protecting those who cannot receive the vaccine due to age or illness.

When a child comes down with a disease such as whooping cough, chickenpox or flu, he or she may miss a lot of school while recovering. Someone will need to stay home to provide care and take the child to the doctor.

The Livingston County Department of Health offers immunization clinics on the first Tuesday of each month from 4-6 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call (585) 243-7299.