The ABCs of Back to School Vaccinations

vitals immunization back to school 564x443 The ABCs of Back to School Vaccinations Photo

From preschool to college, children will need to show proof of their back to school vaccinations.

Currently, 48 states allow religious exemptions and 18 states allow for personal-belief exemptions. However, pediatricians believe that vaccines are the cornerstone of public health. Backing up that belief, the Centers for Disease Control reported that over the course of the lifetime of children born in the years 1994 through 2013, childhood vaccines will prevent 322 million illnesses and 732,000 premature deaths.

Below is an outline of recommended immunizations for each school-age group.

Preschool

Infants and pre-schoolers have underdeveloped immune systems, so vaccine schedules are heavy during the first few years of life.

• Two doses of Hepatitis B vaccine – Protects against the food borne strain of this disease.

• Three doses of Rotavirus –A contagious gastrointestinal sickness, rotovirus can cause severe diarrhea in infants.

• Four doses of DTaP – This shot is three in one: diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.

• Four doses of HIB – This vaccine protects against the bacteria haemophilus influenza, which can cause meningitis (an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord), pneumonia (lung infection), epiglottitis (a severe throat infection).

• Four doses of PCV – Another bacteria that can cause multiple diseases, the pneumococcal vaccine protects against ear infections and meningitis.

• Three doses of IPV – While polio has all but been eradicated in the U.S., developing nations still battle against this crippling disease.

• One dose of MMR – Another multi-fighter, this vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

• One dose of Varicella – There is now a vaccine to ward off the dreaded chicken pox, the bane of childhood.

• One annual dose of Flu vaccine – Updated each year, the vaccine that protects against the flu can be given via inhaler or needle.

Children with certain health problems or risks may also need the Hepatitis A vaccine. Ask your doctor about whether Hepatitis A vaccination is appropriate for your child.

 

Elementary School

From 4 to 6 years old, most children receive boosters to vaccinations they received in pre-school.

• DTaP (fifth dose)

• IPV (fourth dose)

• MMR (second dose)

• Varicella (second dose)

• Annual flu shot

 

Middle School

As students near 11—12-years-old, their vaccination schedule lightens. The following vaccines are recommended:

• 1 dose of Tdap – This booster vaccine, has weaker doses of diphtheria and pertussis.

• 3 doses of HPV vaccine – This vaccine, introduced to the market recently, protects both girls and boys from developing Human papilloma virus. It can reduce the chance of women developing cervical cancer.

• 1 dose of MCV – Another protector against meningitis.

• Annual flu shot

 

High School and College

The good news is that older children have better developed immune systems. From age 16 onward, most vaccines are for maintenance.

• MCV (second dose)

 

As an adult, age 18 and older, the CDC recommends:

• Td – For adults, the Tetanus and diphtheria booster should be taken once every 10 years.

• Annual flu shot

 

Other immunizations may be necessary for older children and adults depending on your work conditions, travel and/or health. Always check with your doctor for the latest recommended immunizations.

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