Is Your Child Fully Vaccinated for the New School Year?

Health
Published Saturday, August 6, 2016

As your children get ready to head back to school, make sure they have the protection they need. Colorado students are required to have a number of vaccines for school attendance. Children, from preschoolers to middle schoolers to college students, need vaccines.

"Vaccines are still one of the best ways to protect people from disease.  Before kids go back to school is a good time to check if they need any shots," said Lynn Trefren, chief of the Immunization Branch at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "Measles and mumps outbreaks around the country are a reminder of how important vaccines are to protecting our communities."

To find out which vaccines are required for children entering child care/preschool, kindergarten, sixth grade and college, go to https://www.colorado.gov/cdphe/schoolrequiredvaccines. Ask your school about how to submit a certificate of immunization.

Most parents are aware of the recommended vaccines for infants and younger children, but they may not know there are other vaccines recommended for preteens and teens. Adolescents ages 11 to 12 should receive tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap), meningococcal, and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. It's especially important for college-age teens to talk to their health care provider about vaccines to protect them against meningitis.

Beginning this year, parents or students wanting to exempt from school-required vaccines must do so more often and use new exemption forms. For more information, go to: www.colorado.gov/vaccineexemption.

Beginning Dec. 1, 2016, and each year after, schools and licensed child care facilities will report vaccination and exemption rates to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The information will be available on our website in early 2017. Similar data for Colorado's 30 largest school districts currently is available to the public through a database created by Chalkbeat Colorado.

Uninsured families with children ages 18 and younger may be eligible to receive free vaccines through the Vaccines For Children program.