Getting your children ready for a new school year can be stressful. From stocking up on school supplies to finding the perfect back-to-school wardrobe leaves most parents wishing summer would never end. However, while school supplies and clothes are important, none of those things matter if your child is not able to learn in a healthy environment.
Immunizations are an important part of protecting your child’s health – and your family’s too – against certain vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) does not allow students to attend school if they do not have the proper documentation of the required vaccines or a valid exemption. The required number of doses for each vaccine varies by age group, so it is important to double check specific requirements.
The vaccines listed below are all required for students entering kindergarten through 12th grade and the minimum requirement for most is two doses:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis A
There is also a dose of Meningococcal required for all 7th and 8th graders. All immunizations should be completed by the first day of school and law requires students be fully vaccinated against the specified diseases. A student may be provisionally enrolled if they have an immunization record that indicates the student has received at least one dose of each specified age-appropriate vaccine required. The student then has 30 days to receive the required doses or they will no longer be permitted to attend school.
Since many types of personal immunization records are in use, any document with be acceptable provided a physician or public health personnel has validated it. The month, day and year the vaccination was received must be recorded on all school immunization records. The DSHS does allow for some exemptions to this rule, either by a note from the child’s doctor indicating the vaccine(s) would be medically harmful to the student, or parents/guardians electing for an exemption for reasons of conscience, such as religious beliefs.
If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Immunization Branch Customer Service at (800) 252-9152.