Scott Cohen (Pediatrician, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) gives expert video advice on: What vaccines does my school-aged child need? and more...
What vaccines does my school-aged child need?
So, your school-aged child may get boosters of previous vaccines. A booster shot is just another shot of something they've received earlier to boost your immunity, and everybody's immunity a little different. But, let's say if a series of shots there are four in a series after the first shot you may gain 30% immunity, after the next 60%, after the next 80%, and then after the next more than 95%. So, we're boosting your child's immunity. At 4 and 5 your child gets a booster of the measles, mumps, rubella shot; the shot they got at 1 years of age. So, they're getting their second and last one. They're getting their DTAP Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis booster. This is their 5th and last one, and their getting their polio shot, their 4 and their last one in their life. They may get a tuberculosis test again and some schools require that. They may also around that time if not earlier be offered a hepatitis-A shot which is hepatitis you get from contaminated food and water. One other thing, you may get is a booster of the chickenpox shot as well.
When should my school-age child be vaccinated?
The majority of vaccines are completed by age five. Schools often recommend periodic tests for tuberculosis screening, which is the bubble test that goes in the arm, and then at eleven years of age you have a big gap. Kids love the five year visit because we can say there are no more major vaccines until they are eleven years old, and at eleven they get a booster of just the tetanus shots. There are also some "teenage" shots that are new and that we're recommending in children that we do start giving around eleven years of age. There's something called Menactra, which is a shot against meningitis, which is a different bacterial meningitis called meningococcal meningitis that's more common in that age group, as opposed to the bacterias we were protecting the infants from. Now, there's a shot to prevent HPV, which is human papillomavirus that they're recommending that we give girls from nine and up, and this will hopefully prevent them from getting cervical cancer. Human papillomavirus is one of the major causes of cervical cancer, and now we're vaccinating women for that as well.
Do all schools require children to be vaccinated?
Unfortunately not all schools require children to be vaccinated. They used to be a little stricter about this but nowadays you can defer vaccines for religious reasons or even just because "it's against your beliefs". So not all schools require vaccines. We do recommend all the vaccines for the reasons we talked about earlier, but talk to your individual school as not all of them require them.