By Andrea Hescheles
With summer ending soon, it’s time to get the kids ready to go back to school. While school supplies, backpacks and new clothes may be at the top of the list, don’t forget about another important item that should be on your list: vaccinations.
Without proof of required immunizations, your child won’t be allowed to attend school.
The state of California requires students enrolling in school or childcare to show proof they’ve received all their vaccines. Depending on your child’s age, some school immunizations requirements include polio, meningitis, chickenpox, HBV and measles, mumps and rubella needed for school entry.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccinations are critical to a child’s health and protects their immune system from infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, chickenpox and whooping cough. The CDC also says that they prevent the spread of diseases to schoolmates, teachers, staff, family, and community members.
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines but if you don’t have health insurance or immunization coverage in you plan, the federally funded Vaccines for Children program offers free vaccines for children age 18 and under. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also offers immunizations at low or no cost.
For more information about health checkup requirements and a list of required vaccines to enroll in California schools, visit www.shotsforschool.org.
In addition, the CDC has online resources and tools to help along with recommendations at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents.
Here’s a list of back-to-school vaccine requirements:
Students entering kindergarten and/or are age 6 and under:
- Five doses of diptheria, pertussis and tetanus (DTP). Four doses meets the requirement if at least one was given on or after the fourth birthday.
- Four doses of polio (three doses meets the requirement if at least one was given on or after the fourth birthday)
- Three doses of Hepatitis B
- Two doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
- 1 dose of Varicella (chicken pox)
Students entering Grade 7 and/or age 7-17:
- Four doses of TDaP , DTaP, or DTP (three doses meets the requirement if at least one was given on or after the second birthday)
- Four doses of polio (three doses meets the requirement if at least one was given on or after the second birthday)
- One MMR (must have been given on or after first birthday)
- One or two doses of Varicella (one dose for children 7-12 years old; two doses for children ages 13–17)
In addition, children entering seventh grade must have:
- One additional booster of Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis booster (TdaP)
- Two MMR (or any measles vaccine; both doses must be given on or after the first birthday)