Getting ready for school

Featured Sliders / Health & Fitness / Stories / July 14, 2020

Make sure vaccinations are on your back-to-school list

By Tara Fergerson

Paper. Pencils. Notebooks. Planners. Crayons and markers.

And vaccinations.

These are some of the things children may need when returning back to school this fall.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines are the most important way to protect infants, children and teenagers from harmful diseases.

Tara Fergerson

In order to make sure your child is ready for the school year, check out our list of needed immunizations.

Children going in to kindergarten will need their fourth or fifth dose of DTaP (diptheria, tetanus and pertussis), fourth dose of IPV (inactivated polio virus), second dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and a second dose of varicella. The fifth dose of DTap and fourth dose of IPV can be given as a combination vaccine. The second MMR and second varicella can also be given as a combination vaccine. Combining vaccines helps to eliminate ‘pokes,’ making the visit less stressful to some children.

Between seventh and eighth grades, adolescents will need to get a Tdap (tetanus, diptheria and pertussis) vaccine as well as their first dose of the meningococcal (protects against meningitis strains A, C, W and Y) vaccine.

During this visit, it is a great time to talk to your health care professional about the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine. HPV is a virus that can lead to cervical, anogenital and oral cancers in females, and anogenital and oral cancers in males. HPV can also lead to genital warts in both males and females. The HPV vaccine is recommended for both males and females. The vaccine can be given as early as age 9 but is routinely given at ages 11-12, as a two-dose or threedose series, depending on the age when the adolescent receives the first dose of the vaccine.

After age 16, teens will need their second dose of the meningococcal (ACWY) vaccine. Teens should also receive a meningitis B vaccine before heading off to college. Meningitis B is an additional strain in the meningitis family. The strain is particularly prevalent in the collegeaged population, mainly due to the fact of living in dorms and being within close quarters with one another. The meningitis B vaccine is a two-dose series. After receiving the first dose, the teen would come back in one month or later for the second dose.

In the fall, Cole County Health Department partners with the majority of the schools in Cole County to offer school-based flu vaccine clinics. The school-based flu clinics are a great opportunity to get children immunized against seasonal influenza. Most parents appreciate us coming out to the schools because then they do not have to take off of work to take their children to get their flu shot.

At the health department, we offer routine immunizations every week day. Our office hours for immunizations are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday; no appointment is needed.

At the department, we can bill certain insurances for immunizations. We also have a partnership with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to help assist with vaccines. Through their Vaccines for Children program, we can administer vaccines to children age 18 or younger to ensure cost is never an issue for families.

Tara Fergerson, RN, is the immunization coordinator for the Cole County Health Department, 3400 W. Truman Blvd.

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