Put Vaccines on Your Back-to-School Checklist
You’ve gone back-to-school shopping. But have you called the pediatrician’s office to make sure their vaccines are up-to-date? Kim Giuliano, MD, explains what they need when ― and why it’s so important.
You’ve taken care of the backpack, lunchbox, folders, binders, glue sticks and pencil case. But what about any vaccines your child might need?
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General pediatrician Kim Giuliano, MD, says vaccines are important for preventing disease in people of all ages ― but especially for school-age children.
Kids typically receive two shots that protect them against eight diseases between the ages of 4 and 6. But big kids need vaccines too.
“The next time children receive routine vaccinations is around age 11 or 12, and then again between the ages of 16 and 18,” Dr. Giuliano says.
The complete vaccination schedule is designed to protect children from 16 potentially harmful diseases. From birth to age 6, it’s recommended children receive vaccines to prevent 14 diseases.
And everyone 6 months and up should receive a yearly flu shot. Plus, it’s recommended preteens receive vaccines for HPV, meningitis and T-dap (which protects from tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough).
If you’ve got older kids who are heading off to college, make sure they’re protected too.
“There are some vaccines we encourage for college students as well, specifically the meningitis vaccine,” Dr. Giuliano says. “Meningitis can spread very easily when people live in close quarters ― like college dormitories.”
If you’re not sure whether your child is up-to-date on his or her vaccines ― or if your child has missed shots, Dr. Giuliano recommends talking to your pediatrician about getting back on track.