Children and young adults need to be protected before heading back to school. Immunizations protect children, preteens and teens from sixteen serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. Back to school coincides with National Immunization Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to make sure your children are up to date on their required immunizations. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) encourages parents to get their students prepared for the new school year by talking to your doctor about required immunizations, including pertussis (“whooping cough”) and measles.
“As parents, you work hard to guard your children against everything. One sure way to protect your children and your family is by immunizing them against serious diseases,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer. “Preventing communicable diseases in children benefits everyone. When children are not immunized, they are at increased risk for diseases and can also spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community – including babies who are too young to be fully immunized and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.”
California School Immunization Requirements
School requirements include the following immunizations. Specific immunizations may vary based on the student’s age and status in school. New students or those heading back to school should note that proof of immunizations is required for school entry.
DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis; formerly known as DTP)
MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella)
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends the following immunizations for 11-12 year olds:
One dose of meningococcal immunization, followed by a booster dose at 16 years of age
Three doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) immunization, which is recommended for both boys and girls to prevent certain types of cancer
All students, parents, faculty, and staff are encouraged to get an annual, seasonal flu immunization.
Many insurance plans will cover immunizations at no-cost to the patient. For referrals to no-cost or low-cost immunizations, call 2-1-1 or visit the Public Health website at: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip.
For more information about school immunization requirements, visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip or http://www.shotsforschool.org.