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Back to School Vaccinations

For many parents, knowing what immunizations your child needs and when he or she needs to have them is not easy. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the best way to protect your child from many common infections is to have him or her fully immunized.

Immunizing children (also known as having them vaccinated) protects them from dangerous and possibly deadly diseases.

 

Immunizing children has other advantages, including:

  • Protecting others who cannot be vaccinated
  • Decreasing the severity if a vaccinated child contracts the disease
  • Decreasing the spread of a disease. Immunizations work by strengthening the immune system, which is the body’s natural disease-fighting mechanism.

 

Back to School Vaccination Timeline

 

12th grade

Students who are going into the 12th grade must receive one booster dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV) on or after their 16th birthday. This is the second dose of the vaccine (the first would be given at 11 or 12 years of age).

 

What if this requirement isn’t met?

If your child doesn’t receive the MCV vaccine before school starts, he or she must get it within the first five days of school or show a plan to the school for completion of the two shot series. Otherwise, your child may not be allowed to attend.

 

7th grade

Seventh-graders must receive the following vaccines before the first day of school:

    • One dose of tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap)
  • One dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV)

 

What if these requirements aren’t met?

If your child doesn’t receive these vaccines before school starts, he or she must get them within the first five days of school. Otherwise, your child may not be allowed to attend.

 

Young Children

Younger children must receive the following vaccines before starting school:

  • Four doses of tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap; one dose on or after your child’s fourth birthday)
  • Four doses of polio (fourth dose on or after your child’s fourth birthday; must be at least 6 months after the previous dose was given)
  • Two doses of measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Three doses of hepatitis B
  • Two doses of varicella (chickenpox) or evidence of immunity

 

What if these requirements aren’t met?

If your child is missing a dose of a vaccine, he or she must receive it within the first five days of school. If your child needs several doses of a vaccine, you must give the school a medical plan** for when your child will receive the missing doses. The school must get the plan within the first five days of school. If you don’t follow the medical plan, your child may not be able to attend school.

 

These are just the basics of the immunizations that school-aged children need. Check out this complete list.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Children with medical exceptions or whose families have religious/philosophical exceptions are excluded from these requirements. However, they may not be able to attend school during an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.

 

*A medical plan is an immunization schedule signed by a provider that shows the dates the required immunizations will be completed.