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Is a trip to the doctor’s office on your back-to-school to-do list? If it isn’t, add it to the top. All students from kindergarteners to college students need to have their immunization records checked against district or school requirements to insure they have all their required shots. Some students may not be able to attend school until they satisfy immunization requirements.
Many vaccines can be given at the same time without any decrease in their effectiveness. It’s important they receive their primary series of all childhood vaccines and boosters to not only keep them healthy, but to protect their school community. Not sure what’s required? Check with the school for requirements if they haven’t been provided to you yet, as well as your child’s doctor who will be plugged into their medical history.
Here are some of the common recommended immunizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Schools may require this vaccine to protect against bacterial meningitis, a fast-moving and life-threatening illness. It is a rare disease that can strike healthy young people without warning and spreads easily in large groups and dorm settings. Currently, two Meningococcal vaccines exist. The first is required by most school systems and covers 75% of strains. The second is not yet a requirement, but covers the remaining strains missed by the first. Ask your healthcare provider if the second vaccine is right for your child.
This vaccine helps protect against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). If a child received this vaccine earlier in their childhood, its protection may have faded. Check with your doctor to see if a booster is recommended.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects against nine strains of HPV, including two types that can cause cervical and genital cancers in women. This vaccine consists of three doses and is recommended for preteens and teens—boys and girls.
Annual flu vaccines are recommended for children 6 months and older. The seasonal flu causes millions of children to get sick each year, with flu-related deaths in children reaching record highs. Children with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes or disorders of the brain or nervous system are at a high risk of serious flu complications.
Check with your doctor to make sure your child is up to date on all the vaccines they need ahead of the first day of school. They may need to play catch up if they missed some when they were younger.