As the school year begins, make sure your child is protected with immunizations, regardless of his or her age.

To avoid pertussis, children should receive one booster shot of diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP) after the fourth birthday. Also before kindergarten, children should receive a polio booster vaccine after the fourth birthday. Older school-age children should get tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) boosters after their 11th birthday.

It’s also important for adults to receive one booster shot of the Tdap vaccine. Immunity fades over time, so physicians recommend additional boosters for parents with each pregnancy.

Adolescents should also receive a meningococcal vaccine to protect them from the leading cause of bacterial meningitis, which can result in disability and death. Adolescents starting at age 11 years should also get the very important HPV vaccination which protects against one of the leading causes of cancer- Human Papillomavirus. Infections with this virus causes most cases of cervical cancer in women as well as genital, head, and neck cancers in both men and women.

Texas law now requires college-age students to get a booster meningococcal vaccination before heading off to college this fall even if they will not be residing in the college dormitories.

Students entering kindergarten will need to have:

  • Two doses of the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
  • Two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine
  • Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine

Students entering seventh grade will need:

  • One dose of the meningococcal vaccine
  • Two doses of the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
  • One dose of the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine

Jason V. Terk, M.D., is a Cook Children’s pediatrician, located in Keller, Texas.  To make an appointment with him, please call (817) 431-1450. Dr. Terk earned his medical degree from University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine (Mayo Clinic) in Rochester, Minnesota. His interests include public policy advocacy for children’s health issues, focusing primarily on vaccines. Dr. Terk is board-certified in pediatrics.

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