MPS Health & Wellness Newsletter

Mansfield Public Schools, Building a Stronger Community

Vaccine Basics

The decision to vaccinate your child can be complex and difficult but vaccines remain one of the most effective ways to keep your child healthy. Leading pediatric health care agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend a vaccine schedule that covers approximately 14 different diseases. Vaccinations protect your child from deadly diseases, such as polio, tetanus, and diphtheria, and also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing the potential of exposure to dangerous diseases that could spread from child to child.

What is a Vaccine?

A vaccine is a dead or weakened version of the germ that causes the disease in question. When children are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, their immune system, which is the body's germ-fighting machine, is stimulated to create antibodies to that particular disease. If, or when they are exposed to the full strength disease-causing germ, their bodies already have antibodies to fight, preventing sickness.

Mild reaction to a vaccine such as tenderness or redness at the site or low grade fever is actually a sign that the immune system is working and making new antibodies. Although children can have a reaction to any vaccine, the important thing to know is that the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the possible side effects.

Over the years, vaccines have generated some controversy over safety. Parents and guardians are important health advocates for their children. They need to investigate what the medical community knows before making decisions. If you are concerned about the safety of vaccines , gather some research online (CDC, Common Vaccine Safety Concerns) and talk to your doctor with your concerns.

Why Do We Keep Vaccinating?

Many vaccine-preventable diseases that we do not see often in the United States still make people sick in other countries. It is possible for travelers to bring these diseases back to the United States where they could spread if we stop getting vaccinated. We never know where and when exposure to germs will occur. Vaccines are the safest and most effective way to protect ourselves from unknown exposure.

If you are traveling outside of the United States, you may need to get additional vaccines to keep you healthy and safe. Please visit the website of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for more information.

Keeping Track of Immunizations

Most of your child’s vaccinations are completed between birth and 6 years but additional vaccines are needed during high school, college, and beyond. Many vaccines are given more than once, at different ages, and in combinations. This can be complicated if you move or change pediatricians but catch-up immunization series are easy to complete with the assistance of medical professionals.

If your child has missed an immunization, you don't have to go back and start over for most vaccines. The previous immunizations are still good. Your doctor will just resume the immunization schedule. If for any reason, your child receives additional doses of a vaccine, this is also not a concern, although your child will still need any future doses according to the recommended schedule.

You can download an easy-to-read immunization schedule for birth to 6 years and 7 to 18 years from the CDC. You can also ask your doctor's office for more information on the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS). This is a source you can go to if your immunization records get lost or you do not have access to them.

Community Immunity

States, cities and towns with higher vaccination rates have lower rates of life-threatening diseases. Germs can travel quickly through a community. When enough people are vaccinated against a certain disease, the germs can't travel as easily from person to person and the entire community is less likely to get sick.

Community immunity is important because some people with serious allergies or those with weakened or failing immune systems cannot get vaccinated for certain diseases. Community immunity is also important for the very small group of people who do not have a strong immune response from vaccines.

As flu season approaches, community immunity is another reason to encourage people to get their flu shots. Of course, the flu vaccine helps protect you from getting the flu. It also helps protect everyone you come in contact with from your unvaccinated newborn niece, to your frail elderly neighbor, to the stranger next to you in the grocery store who cannot get a flu shot because of an allergy.

The Flu

Influenza is a serious illness that affects millions of people every year and can lead to complications which may require hospitalization. Flu symptoms include fever, muscle aches, chills, headache, sore throat, nasal drainage, chest congestion, diarrhea and vomiting. An uncomplicated illness from the influenza virus can last from 3 to 7 days but cough and fatigue can last up to 2 weeks.

Getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu and potentially serious complications. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated by the end of October.

Flu vaccines should be readily available at doctors' offices and local pharmacies. Co-pay is not required. In addition, Mansfield High School is hosting a family flu clinic for ages nine and up on Wednesday, October 23rd from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the cafeteria.

Learn more about what’s new for the 2019-2020 flu season.

Student Flu Clinic

Wednesday, Oct. 23rd, 6-8pm

250 East Street

Mansfield, MA

Student Flu Clinic

Wednesday, October 23

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

MHS Cafeteria

We will be holding a Family Friendly Flu Clinic on Wednesday October 23 from 6 to 8 pm. This clinic is available to all students and family members 9 years and older.

Vaccine will be administered by certified pharmacists to students and family members who are 9 years and older. Parent/Guardian must be present with students who are younger than 18 years of age.

Please bring health insurance card and be ready to fill out pre-screening consent form.

If you have any questions, please contact Amy Donovan-Palmer in the Health Department at


""The pathway to a more sustainable future for all children must include access to the basic building blocks of good health, including nutrition, water, and immunizations."~ Seth Berkley, Medical Epidemiologist

Mansfield Health & Wellness Council

The Health & Wellness Advisory Council (HWAC) is

comprised of school administrators, nurses, guidance

counselors, teachers, parents, community leaders and student

delegates. Our mission is to provide and develop educational

Health & Wellness resources, and to promote and support the

physical and social/emotional health of our school community.

The council serves as a common ground for all grade levels to

share ideas and look for support in areas of need.

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