Authored by JoannaRasmuson

Back to School Vaccination Checklist

August 6, 2021 | Family MedicinePediatrics

It’s almost time for students to return to school. The pencils are sharp and the notebooks are ready, but are your children fully vaccinated? Many families have done what they could to stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home as much as possible. As a result, many children have missed check-ups and physician-recommended vaccinations. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated that due to the pandemic around 23 million children have missed out on basic vaccines, 3.7 million more than in 2019.

The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have encouraged parents to make sure their children receive their recommended vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid future illness. As you help your children get ready for school, it is crucial to include a checklist of vaccinations that your children should have before they return to school in the next couple of weeks.

Why should children get vaccinated?

Current vaccinations protect your children from many diseases that have been almost forgotten by the world because they no longer threaten our children’s health. Some of these diseases include polio, tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, and rubella. For a list of illnesses that vaccines protect us from, visit the CDC’s website. The CDC has estimated that children born between 1994 and 2018 will prevent more than 419 million illnesses, 936,000 deaths, and 1.9 trillion in societal costs because they have been fully vaccinated.

When you decide to protect your children from diseases, you keep other children and families safe from potentially life-threatening diseases.

What vaccinations should children have?

While we can recognize the importance of vaccinations, it can be challenging to know which vaccinations children should have as they continue to grow. Here is a list of vaccinations that your child should have from preschool and kindergarten to high school. If your child is missing any of the following required vaccinations for school, work with your primary care physician to get them caught up.

Starting School (Ages 4 through 6)
From ages four to six, your child will need the following vaccinations before they start school:

  • Chickenpox
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (TDAP)
  • Flu
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Polio

Elementary School (Ages 7 through 10)
From the ages of 7 through 10, your child should get the flu shot every year by the end of October. If your child has received the previously recommended vaccinations, it is not necessary to get additional doses during these years. If your child has not received the recommended vaccinations, please consult with your pediatrician.

Preteen Years (Ages 11 through 12)
At this age, some protection from childhood vaccines wears off. Your adolescent teens will need to get certain vaccinations again that will extend added protection. They will also need other new vaccines that will protect them as they enter adulthood. Here are the recommended vaccines your preteen will need:

  • Flu
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (TDAP)

Teen Years (Ages 13-18)
During this time, make sure to schedule annual doctor’s visits with your children and keep them up to date on former vaccinations. If your children are traveling to a country outside of the United States, consult with your doctor about vaccines they need before leaving. At age 16, children should receive an additional dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine as well as a flu shot every year during the fall. Here are the recommended vaccines each teenager will need:

  • Flu
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Serogroup B meningococcal Infection

If you are unsure whether you can pay for the cost of these vaccines, the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) provides vaccines to participating providers for children from birth to age 18. Children enrolled in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are an American Indian or Alaskan Native, uninsured, or under-insured can receive aid from the VFC to ensure that they get the vaccinations they need for school. Visit the Utah Department of Health for more information about how you can get your children fully vaccinated.

Why are Well Child visits important?

Children go through many developmental stages that are vital to their growth and health, so it’s important to continuously monitor their health at each stage for signs of potential problems. Well-child visits are essential for three main reasons:

  • To track growth and development milestones
  • To discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s health
  • To schedule vaccinations that will protect your child from future illnesses

Your primary care physician will encourage you to bring your children in for well-child visits to ensure that their growth and development are on track. Vaccinations play a vital role in the development of your children and are part of these well-child visits. If you have any questions or concerns about your childrens’ health or need to schedule a well-child visit, make an appointment with one of our family medicine providers or the Utah Immunization Hotline 1-800-275-0659.

Lindsey LeBaron


Lindsey LeBaron

Lindsey LeBaron has been working as the Marketing Assistant for Revere Health for the past three years. Lindsey has a bachelor’s degree in social sciences at Brigham Young University and will graduate with her master’s degree in global strategic communications at Florida International University in December 2021. Coupled with her master’s degree, Lindsey is also working on a certification in crisis management and consensus-building. Recently, she was awarded the honor of joining the National Communications Association as a member of the Lambda Pi Eta honor society. Lindsey is passionate about building lasting connections between communities to create lasting change and believes that communication is a vital element to building long-lasting relationships. When she is out of the office, Lindsey enjoys singing and playing the piano, going on adventures, traveling to new locations, and reading books about world affairs.

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.