With summer break coming to an end, you may be wondering what back-to-school vaccines your child needs. We’ve got you covered by breaking down the vaccine requirements for students entering school.
What back-to-school vaccines does your child need before elementary school?
Your child should receive these vaccines before starting the school year, no matter what state you live in and their vaccine requirements:
- MMR vaccine: Two doses of the MMR vaccine, starting around age 12 to 15 months old, will protect your child from measles, mumps and rubella (German measles).
- IPV vaccine: Four doses of this vaccine, starting at 2 months old, will guard the body against polio.
- Varicella vaccine: Two doses of this vaccine, starting at age 12 to 15 months old, will protect them against varicella (chickenpox).
- DTaP vaccine: Five doses of this vaccine, starting at the age of 2 months, will protect your child from diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough).
Depending on what state you live in, your child may have additional school immunization requirements, such as the hepatitis A or B vaccines.
What back-to-school vaccines does your child need before middle and high school?
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine: Children ages 11 or 12 should receive a dose of this vaccine to protect against this serious disease. A second shot during their teen years can provide continued protection.
- DTaP vaccine: Another dose of this vaccine will help ensure lasting protection against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough).
- Hepatitis B vaccine: If your child didn’t receive this series of vaccines when they were younger, they should get it during adolescence.
- HPV vaccine: This vaccine can protect your child from the numerous types of cancer-causing human papilloma viruses.
- Other “catch-up” vaccines: These vaccines are also available if your child didn’t get the varicella, MMR or polio vaccine when they were younger.
What additional vaccinations should my child get?
The COVID-19 vaccines and flu vaccine are both available for everyone ages 6 months and older. Everyone in your family should receive the flu shot yearly, ideally before the end of October. This is because the flu can be dangerous, especially for children under the age of 5 as well as older adults.
The same goes for the COVID-19 vaccine as well as its booster shots. They can help protect everyone in your family from serious illness and also reduce the risk of community spread.
With so many vaccines out there, it can be hard to know what back-to-school vaccines your child needs and when. To check your child’s vaccine records, reach out to their pediatrician. And if you have questions about which exact vaccines are required in your state, reach out to your local health department or check out the CDC’s website.
Together, we can fight vaccine-preventable diseases!