Heartbeat : Vaccines for Back to School

LUBBOCK, TX - It's the time of year when parents start to think about checking to make sure vaccines are up to date for their kids.

"We recommend that all kids follow the immunization schedule that's been outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics in conjunction with the CDC," Dr. Jake Westerberg said.

Dr. Westerberg is a pediatrician with Covenant Medical Group.

"The last major set of immunizations occurs at 4 years old, and so most kids, if they're up to date on their 4 year vaccinations, are ready for the entirety of elementary school," he said. "Then typically there's another round of immunizations that occur prior to junior high, around 11 years of age. Those are the updates on the Tdap, which is the tetanus, pertussis, in addition to starting the meningitis vaccine."

There's also vaccinations college-aged students will need.

"All college students are going to receive at 11 and 16 years of age, a meningitis vaccine, it's a 2 dose series," he said. 

"They've recently released, it's not required right now by schools but likely will be in the future, an extended spectrum on that meningitis vaccine," he added.

When thinking about getting kids up to date, it's not a bad time for parents to think about if they need any boosters.

"For adult vaccines, I think the Tdap vaccine is going to be the most beneficial to the kids," he said. "I think certainly adults over the age of 65 are going to be most at risk for some of the communicable infectious diseases, and so I would definitely recommend the yearly influenza vaccine, and for older adults, especially with a chronic disease, to consider the pneumococcal vaccine as well."

But Dr. Westerberg said it's not until mid-September that people will need to start thinking about the flu shot.


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