Vaccine Questions & Answers in Washington DC
Back-to-school season is an exciting time of new classes, teachers, activities, and classmates. It also means that parents are busy buying supplies and clothing and completing other essential tasks for safe and productive year ahead.
That being said, immunizations are one of the most important items that should be on everyone’s back-to-school checklist.
So, which vaccines does your child need and where can they get them done?
Here’s everything you need to know about back-to-school vaccinations for children of every age.
What Are the Benefits of Vaccinations?
Vaccinations protect infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, and adults from harmful diseases that can lead to illness and even hospitalization or death.
In fact, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the practice of immunization has significantly reduced the instances of illness and death from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Which Vaccines Does My Child Need?
In the US, children must meet certain vaccine requirements in order to enroll in and attend public school.
These regulations may vary slightly from state to state, but all 50 states require:
Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTaP); Polio; Measles and rubella; and Varicella (chickenpox).
In addition, 49 states require the mumps vaccination, and 43 states and Washington DC require the hepatitis B vaccination.
It’s also recommended that children get a yearly flu vaccination to limit their chances of getting sick from the influenza virus.
Do Teenagers and College-Age Children Need Vaccines?
Many individuals may not be aware that pre-teens, adolescents, and college-age children still need certain immunizations.
Some of the necessary vaccinations for this group include those that protect against meningitis, HPV + cervical, throat, and HPV-related cancers, and a tetanus booster.
Where Can Children Receive Back-To-School Vaccines?
Ideally, children should receive their back-to-school vaccines from their pediatrician or primary care physician who is familiar with their medical history and immunization record.
At this time, they can also undergo an annual wellness exam, which is essential to assess the child’s growth and development and perform vision and hearing screenings.
What If Vaccinations Are Against My Religious or Medical Beliefs?
Most states allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their child if their reasons for doing so are based on medical or religious beliefs.
Additionally, pediatricians and other health care professionals make every effort to understand why parents have decided against vaccinations and provide the most up-to-date and accurate information on immunizations.