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Alex Fulton

Alex Fulton has been working in the wellness field for more than 20 years. She has written extensively about integrative medicine, herbalism, supplements and other topics related to holistic health. Alex also focuses on issues related to women's health, from menstruation to menopause. She has collaborated with physicians, midwives and functional medicine practitioners to promote natural approaches to health care for women. She has a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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What You Need to Know About Back-to-School Vaccines

Learn which immunizations your child needs before school starts

Created With Support

Medically reviewed by Janis Hogan, RN, NCSN

Many children missed lifesaving vaccines because of Covid-19

Healthcare providers (HCPs) in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program ordered about 2.5 million fewer doses of all routine non-influenza vaccines from mid-March to mid-April 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Get your kids back on track with their vaccines so they can start the school year off right!

This is the immunization schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). School vaccine requirements may vary from state to state. Your child’s HCP or school nurse can explain which vaccines are required in your area.

Starting school (ages 4-6)

  • Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine (2nd dose, based on children receiving their 1st dose in infancy)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine (5th dose)
  • Flu vaccine (every year)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine (2nd dose)
  • Polio (IPV) vaccine (4th dose)

Elementary school (ages 7-10)

  • Flu vaccine (every year)

Preteen years (ages 11-12)

  • Flu vaccine (every year)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (2 doses, 6-12 months apart)
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (1st dose)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine (1st dose)

Teen years (ages 13-18)

  • Flu vaccine (every year)
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (2nd dose at 16-year well visit)
  • Serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (2 doses; can be done between ages 16 and 18)

Covid-19 vaccines and other vaccines can be given on the same day

Out of caution, Covid-19 vaccines were initially recommended to be given alone, with a minimum of 14 days before or after any other vaccines.

Now that substantial data about Covid-19 vaccines has been collected, Covid-19 vaccines can be given along with other vaccines on the same day.

Vaccine schedules are based on a massive body of research

A panel of medical and public health experts, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, constantly reviews information about vaccine safety.

Severe reactions to vaccines are incredibly rare

In most cases, vaccines for kids are free

Federal and state programs provide vaccines free of charge for children who may not otherwise have access to them.

Questions about how and where to get your child vaccinated? Contact your child’s HCP or school nurse or your local health department.

This resource has been created with support from Merck.

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