Get a boost for back to school

By: Shalini Forbis, MD
Back to school!  As parents, it’s time to go shopping for school supplies, new clothes, new shoes, aagh!

But when you think about getting ready for your kids to go back to school, does it cross your mind whether or not your child is up to date on their shots and vaccinations?  It’s a very good question.  For certain age children, schools may send your child home after a certain date if you have not provided proof of the required vaccines.  Also, you want your child as protected as possible when they go to school.  Dayton has had a small outbreak of whooping cough this summer.  Preteens entering 7th grade will need a booster shot before starting school!

So here’s the scoop:

Before kindergarten:

Your child needs to be up to date on all his/her baby shots.

Needs to get booster doses of:

  • DTaP  – this shot includes diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough)Your kids had four as a baby.  This is the fifth one.
  • Polio (IPV) –Protects against polio. He had three as a baby.  This should be his 4th one.
  • MMR – Includes measles, mumps and rubella. She had one after turning one year old, this is her 2nd one.
  • Varicella- Chickenpox shot, VZV for short – He had one after turning one year old, this is his 2nd one.


Here’s a link to the vaccine schedule from age zero – six:

Before 7th grade:

Tdap – this is the 7th grade “tetanus booster”. 

Whooping cough was added back into this because protection decreases over time and school-aged kids get a cold with a longer cough and then pass the disease to babies and the elderly who get very sick.

Other shots to consider for school-aged children:

(My kids get the flu shot every year, and will get the other two when they are the correct ages!)

  1. Flu shot – This is recommended for everybody age six months and older.  Certain people with diseases such as asthma (or other lung conditions) and other health problems are strongly recommended to get the flu vaccine yearly.  This is usually available in the fall – sometimes as early as September.
  2. Menactra – This vaccine protects against Meningococcus which is a bacteria that causes meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain).  This disease is deadly and outbreaks are sometimes seen in teenagers and young adults.  The first dose (shot) is given at age 11-12 with a booster dose at age 16 years.
  3. HPV vaccine (two on the market, Gardasil or Cervarix) – these vaccines protect against forms of the HPV (human papillomavirus) virus that cause cervical cancer.  Gardasil protects against 2 types of HPV that cause cervical cancer and 2 types that cause genital warts.  Cervarix protects against 3 types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.  This vaccine (shot) is recommended for both girls and boys between ages 8 – 26 and is a 3 shot series.

For more information on these vaccines, go to:

By: Shalini Forbis, MD – “Dr. Mom Squad”

Dr. Forbis is a pediatrician in the Children’s Health Clinic at Dayton Children’s and a mother to two girls. As part of the “Dr. Mom Sqaud,” Dr. Forbis blogs about her experiences as both as doctor and a mom and hopes to share insight to other parents on issues related to both parenting and kids health. Learn more about Dr. Forbis!

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