Back-to-school time means it is also time to make sure your child is up to date on all of his or her immunizations. It is also a perfect time to make sure you have copies of all of your child’s immunization records stored safely — a step many parents forget.
Mayo Clinic pediatrician Dr. Robert Jacobson says which vaccines your child needs and when mostly depends on the child’s age.
“Every schoolchild should be up to date on all the vaccines, but the ones most often missed for the child who’s entering kindergarten or first grade is the diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (Tdap) and the polio vaccine, and then the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and the varicella vaccine,” he says.
Jacobson says 11- to 12-year-olds often miss the Tdap shot, as well. He says 11 or 12 is also a good time for a follow-up of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which he says they will need again at age 16.
Finally, Jacobson says children should start and complete the HPV vaccine series by age 13.
As important as the immunizations are, Jacobson says getting a copy of the immunization records can be just as important.
“Frequently, your children grow up, become adults, and then are looking for those records,” he says. “And even if you’ve kept your child up to date, those records that your child have may be very important to their employment or schooling, and may be not so easy for them to get.”
For those who worry about the safety of vaccinating their children, Jacobson says it’s important to remember vaccines go through a more rigorous government approval process than any other medicine we use in modern health care.
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