Time running out to get back-to-school immunizations

Health

Time is running out to make an appointment for back-to-school checkups and vaccines.

According to Baystate Children’s Hospital Dr. John O’Reilly, Massachusetts state law requires children to be up to date on required immunizations in order to start school in the fall. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends yearly visits for children ages 3 to 18. 

Dr. John O’Reilly at Baystate Children’s Hospital said scheduling a back-to-school physical each year is a good way to meet that goal. He said parents should be scheduling those back-to-school checkups before the doctors’ offices get too busy.

“All those kids are bringing their germs from everywhere to the classrooms. So the classroom is sort of the crocks for that, so the vaccines are designed to protect the kids from the most serious infection,” said O’Reilly.

If your child has asthma or a peanut allergy, O’Rielly recommends having an action plan to share with the school nurse. Paperwork must also be completed for any prescription medication your child may need to take while at school. 

Some of the immunization requirements for the 2018-2019 school year listed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health include the following: 

  • Two prior doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine for every student entering any grade from kindergarten through college graduate studies, unless they have documented evidence of immunity to all three infections.
  • Two doses of chicken pox (varicella) vaccine for every student entering any grade from kindergarten through college graduate studies, unless they have documented evidence of immunity or a history of chicken pox confirmed by a doctor.
  • One dose Tdap for any student entering any grade from seventh grade through college graduate studies.

The Tdap vaccine provides protection against tetanus, deptheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) for preteens aged 11 or 12.

For more information on the 2018-2019 school vaccination requirements click here. 

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