Back to School Shots: Make Them a Priority

With school starting soon, it is time to get children up-to-date on their latest vaccines. From birth to college, students have to get regular vaccines and boosts to attend school. Other than protecting their health, vaccines also protect the health of fellow students and infants who are unable to get a vaccine. While disease outbreaks dropped over the last decade, they have become more common in recent years because some parents do not vaccinate their child.


There are 14 diseases that can be fatal for young children. Many of these vaccines are done in a series, so it is important to check with a doctor about when the vaccines must be given. In addition, children older than newborns need to have a yearly flu shot. For this age group, children need to get vaccines for:

  • HepB

  • Tdap

  • PCV

  • Varicella

  • MMR

  • HepA

  • Hib

  • IPV


While it seems like young children get a new vaccination every week, older children have fewer immunizations. An 11-year-old is recommended to get vaccinations for meningococcal disease. Tdap provides protection from diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus. Students at this age should also get an HPV vaccination. While they will not need protection from HPV now, it will provide protection from HPV and cancer as the child grows up. Like younger children, this age group should still have a yearly flu shot. The flu can affect young, healthy people, so children must be vaccinated for it.

  • Tdap

  • Meningococcal disease

  • HPV


Tdap vaccine boosters must be done every 10 years, so many college students will need a booster in the next few years. While meningococcal and pneumococcal immunizations are not required, they are recommended by the CDC. Students who did not get an MMR, HPV, Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B vaccine before will need to get one now. In addition, students should continue to get their yearly flu shot. Students should check with their doctor to see if they need vaccinations before college like:

  • Meningococcal disease

  • MMR

  • HPV

  • Hepatitis A and B

  • Pneumococcal disease


It is never too late to update a child's immunizations. Each state has different requirements, and doctors know exactly which vaccines to give for each age group. By becoming properly vaccinated, parents can make sure that their children stay healthy during the upcoming school year.


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