Back-to-school time is a good time to update students’ vaccination status
The neighborhood sounds frequently heard around 8 a.m. each weekday morning will soon transition from birds chirping to students squawking and school bells ringing. The 2022-23 school year begins in most states over the next few weeks. And with the beginning of a new school year comes the need for parents to make sure their children are up to date on required vaccinations.
Vaccinations are an important part of overall health
Vaccinations against harmful diseases are essential to maintaining good health for both children and adults. And, because some people are too young or too sick to get routine vaccinations, it’s essential for the rest of the population to be vaccinated to stop or slow the spread of transmissible diseases among those who are more vulnerable to severe illness.
Which vaccinations are required for students?
States’ requirements typically follow the CDC’s recommended vaccination schedules for children at various stages from birth to 18 years. The CDC recommends annual vaccinations against flu for everyone beginning at 6 months of age. By age 6, when most children are in Kindergarten, the CDC recommends vaccinations for preventable diseases like Hepatitis B (HepB); Rotavirus (RV); Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP); Influenza type b (Hib); Pneumonia (PCV13); Polio (IPV); Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR); Chickenpox (Varicella); and Hepatitis A (HepA). Many of these vaccines require multiple doses, beginning as early as within one month of birth, to provide full immunity, so check the CDC schedule and talk with your child’s doctor about staying up to date. The CDC publishes a handy guide to each state’s vaccination requirements.
The CDC has also established a vaccination schedule for older children, adolescents and teens ages 7-18. In addition to annual flu shots, the CDC recommends that 11-12 year-olds be vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus (HPV); Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis (Tdap); Meningococcal Disease (Men ACWY and MenB); Pneumonia; and Dengue for people who live in regions where Dengue spreads (e.g. Southeast Asia, Pacific Island Countries and the Middle East) and have laboratory confirmation of previous Dengue infection. The schedule also recommends that adolescents and young adults up to age 18 get caught up on HepB, HepA, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Polio and Chickenpox vaccines if needed.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is highly recommended by the CDC for everyone 6 months and older but is not required by most school districts. Before sending your child back to school this year, check your state public health department’s website for school vaccination requirements, and be sure to talk with your child’s doctor if you have any questions about recommended vaccinations.
Use your health plan benefits to get vaccinated
Regence follows the vaccination recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We cover vaccinations—from chickenpox, flu, pneumonia and COVID-19 to rare diseases like measles, polio and whooping cough—at 100% with no out-of-pocket cost when members get their shots from in-network providers and pharmacies. Members can find providers and pharmacies that are in-network by signing in to their account on regence.com or the Regence app, or by calling the phone number on the back of their member ID card.