With summer coming to an end and school beginning, families should begin to prepare for their children to head back to school. Going back to school also means back-to-school immunizations. 

At Utah Family Pharmacy, we’d like to use this time period to make sure families are in the know about their children’s routine childhood immunizations and COVID-19 vaccinations.

Why Immunizations are Important

Ensuring your children have all of the immunizations they require for going back to school helps keep everyone safe. That includes your children, their schools, and the community as a whole safe from potential outbreaks of serious diseases.

Children who aren’t vaccinated are more likely to be the ones spreading illnesses that are highly contagious. Such as whooping cough, or measles.

During the previous 2020-2021 school year, the percentage of immunization coverage among kindergarteners alone dropped by more than 1%.

Now that most schools have moved from online learning, back to in-person learning, it’s more important than ever to make sure all children in school are up to date on their routine immunizations. It’s also recommended that they’re vaccinated against COVID-19.

With healthcare providers, such as Utah Family Pharmacy, immunizations and vaccinations are readily available and are a safe source for parents and guardians to reach out to before the school year begins.

With knowing all of the information needed, you can make the best-informed decision to immunize and vaccinate your kids before sending them back to the classroom. 

Which Back to School Immunizations Does my Child Need?

For students entering kindergarten, the following vaccines are required:

  • 5 doses DTaP/DT
  • 4 doses Polio
  • 2 doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
  • 3 doses of Hepatitis B
  • 2 doses of Hepatitis A
  • 2 doses of Varicella (Chickenpox)

For students entering seventh grade, the following vaccines are required:

  • 1 dose Tdap
  • 3 doses of Hepatitis B
  • 2 doses of Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • 1 dose Meningococcal (only accepted if given after 10 years of age for seventh-grade school entry)

Having your children receive their immunizations at the recommended timing and age can help them benefit the most from the vaccines. With extensive research completed, the efficacy and safety of the immunization schedule can easily be trusted.

For more detailed information on school entry requirements and immunization schedules (including the specific timing of doses), be sure to check out the Utah Department of Health’s Immunization Guidebook, or visit www.immunize-utah.org.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

It’s understandable that during the pandemic, a lot of families fell behind on their routine health care appointments, including their children’s immunizations. That’s why it’s especially important to double-check which ones your child may be in need of before the start of school this year.

What about COVID-19 vaccines?

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the symptoms that come along with it, you should strongly think about vaccinating not only your kids before the school year but also yourself. 

Getting the vaccine helps to prevent your kids from contracting COVID-19. Though the symptoms can be much milder in children than adults, some kids who are infected with the virus are susceptible to severe lung infections. Which can lead to extreme sickness and even hospitalization. This goes especially for the new variants, which are highly contagious.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older, and boosters for everyone 5 and older(HopkinsMedicine). 

At Utah Family Pharmacy, we offer all 3 available COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Moderna
  • Pfizer
  • Johnson & Johnson

 (Availability depends upon location and supplies).

Does my child really need all of these immunizations?  

Nowadays, vaccines are so common that we often forget their importance. They’re the reason we don’t commonly see diseases such as measles, polio, or tetanus. That’s because the majority of the population is vaccinated against those diseases.

If you look just a few years back into 2019 for example, the state of Washington had a measles outbreak. The cases were mostly held up in low-vaccination-rated areas.

Today, we are more than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and there’s no need for families, schools, or other childcare programs to deal with the extreme disruptions of another disease outbreak.

Having readily available immunizations is a huge luxury that many people take for granted. They help protect against many infectious diseases so that our kids can safely go to school and we do not have to worry about them becoming sick.

How do I get my child’s immunization records?

Now that electronic health records are more common, it’s a lot easier to keep track of your children’s immunization records.

Yes, it’s common for families to move and change health care providers quite often. That’s why parents should always keep immunization records on file at home. By contacting your children’s doctor, nurse, or healthcare facility, you should be able to obtain a copy of these records. 

Are immunizations required if my child goes to daycare or preschool?

Yes, early childhood programs, including licensed daycare centers, nurseries, preschools, child care facilities, family home care, or Head Start programs are required to be immunized according to your child’s age.

Meaning that your child has received all of the required doses of all vaccines required for their age group. This is when it’s handy to follow the current immunization schedules.

Back to School Flu Immunizations

Additionally, it’s important to have your child immunized against the flu before flu season arrives. Children have the highest rate of flu infection, compared to the rest of the population.

The flu is also more dangerous for your child than the common cold is. They’ll commonly need medical care for the flu, especially if your child is under the age of 5.

Young children bring a higher risk for flu-related complications. Such as pneumonia, dehydration, or even severe enough to be hospitalized.

If you’re thinking of getting your child the flu immunization before heading back to school, it’s recommended by the CDC to be done before the end of October. Though if you wait until after October during flu season, it’s still beneficial to them.

If you’re looking for somewhere to get your child’s flu vaccine, contact Utah Family Pharmacy today!

Back to School Monkeypox Immunizations

Since the month of June, there have been over 10,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox. With it being declared a public health emergency in early August, you may be wondering how you can protect yourself and your family against this new disease.

There are currently two monkeypox vaccines. One is known as the MVA-Bavarian Nordic, which is a live but nonreplicating vaccine. The second one is a live replicating smallpox vaccine known as ACAM2000.

Currently, the U.S. government is distributing around 1.1 million doses, but it’s been recommended by experts that we’ll need at least 2.4 million more. As transmission increases, that could change as well.

The Hurricane location of Utah Family Pharmacy is currently offering a limited amount of monkeypox vaccines, due to their scarce availability. Contact us for more information on receiving this vaccine.

Where Can I Get Back to School Immunizations?

At Utah Family Pharmacy, we know the best way to protect you and your kids on their way back to school is by providing readily available immunizations. Which protects against flu, whooping cough, and other childhood diseases. 

Our pharmacies are also available for workplace visits to provide all employees, or members with immunizations.

Flu vaccinations are especially important for those who are pregnant, young or old, or who are otherwise at an increased risk. Call Utah Family Pharmacy today to arrange for your flu vaccination this year, or to find the most convenient time and location to get your child immunized before going back to school.