Does your child need to be vaccinated? What you should know

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Before kids get back to school, they may need to go back to the doctor to make sure they have all of their required vaccinations.

“They’re very effective at preventing many childhood illnesses like chickenpox, measles, mumps, things that children used to get, but now are very preventable,” says South Bend Community School Corporation School Nurse Manager, Sue Cullen.

The Indiana Department of Health requires kids who are 3-5 years old to get their series of Hepatitis B, DTap (Diphtheria, Tetanus & Pertussis), Polio, MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) and Varicella vaccines.

When they get to kindergarten, kids will need to finish out the DTap, Polio, MMR and Varicella series and also get two Hepatitis A shots.

Kids in 3rd- 5th grades need all the same vaccines minus the 2 Hepatitis A. From 6th – 11th grade, kids get one Tdap (Tetanus & Pertussis) and one MCV4.

By the time they reach 12th grade they still need another Meningococcal Conjugate.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has similar requirements, but ultimately the child’s primary care physician will know exactly which vaccines a child needs to be on track with the state requirements.

The Indiana Department of Health recognizes two cases when a child would be exempt from vaccinations. A medical reason, that has to be signed off by the primary care provider, or a religious belief that prevents the child from being vaccinated. Children who do have a recognized exemption have to file the vaccine medical exemption form with the school nurse on an annual basis.

For families who need help affording the vaccinations, there are free and reduced cost options.

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