Back-to-School Immunizations and Physicals, Cynthia Heldrich, MD
Summer is a busy and wonderful time for both parents and children. Longer days, warmer temperatures and no homework can make us forget that school is right around the corner.
It’s great to enjoy the relaxing days of summer, but don’t forget to ensure your family is prepared for the beginning of school by making sure their medical needs are met.
The littlest ones, children that will be enrolled in 5K, can really benefit from a complete health assessment with a health provider who is trained to diagnose conditions that may interfere with schoolwork. At this check up, vision and hearing are evaluated. A developmental screening exam that is appropriate to 5 year old children should also be conducted. If any abnormalities are noted, your doctor can treat your child or make referrals to specialists so that your child will be ready for school.
Also extremely important, and required by law, are immunizations – your child cannot attend school without them. All immunizations must be updated before school starts and documentation will need to be provided to your child’s school.
The required immunizations for enrolling in 5K are:
• Four doses of any grouping of a combined vaccine against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, with at least one dose occurring after the 4th birthday.
• Three doses of oral/or inactivated polio, with the third dose occurring after age 4.
• Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and two doses of Varicella vaccines, with the second dose given on or after the fourth birthday.
• Three doses of hepatitis B vaccine.
After completing the immunizations, make sure to get an updated Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) immunization form from your child’s doctor which is what you will need to provide to the school in order for your child to attend.
There are no added medical requirements for older children to attend school, but there are several recommendations that health providers agree are a good idea. The following shots are recommended:
• Tdap booster to be given at age 11.
• A meningococcal vaccine.
• Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines for boys and girls older than 9.
• Hepatitis A vaccines.
Each year DHEC makes small changes to the vaccine requirements for school age children. A yearly check up with your child’s doctor, who can keep you updated on these changes, can make the start of the school year a little less stressful for everyone involved.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare