Submitted by Lori Cannon, RN
NorthLakes Community Clinic
Say the word “August” and certain things immediately come to mind, like fresh sweet corn and tomatoes at their very best. Many of us are determined to fit in those last few beach days or camping trips during August. And for the parents of school-aged kids, August means a mad rush to get them ready to go back to school. If you have a child going back to school, or about to start kindergarten or 4K, make sure that you include updating their vaccines on your to-do list.
Widespread vaccines for diseases like diphtheria and Hib (haemophilus influenzae b, not to be confused with influenza/flu) have made these illnesses virtually non-existent in our time, saving countless lives. For this reason, states require that children in public school have proof of certain vaccinations, with exceptions made for medical or religious/personal reasons.
In Wisconsin, children entering kindergarten through grade 5 must have received 4 doses of the vaccine for diphtheria and tetanus, often combined with a pertussis vaccine, 4 doses of the polio vaccine, 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine, and 2 each for measles mumps and rubella (MMR) and varicella, or chicken pox. Children in grades 6-12 must have these as well as one dose of Tdap, the adolescent/adult vaccine against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Lab results showing immunity against hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, and/or varicella, or a history of illness with chicken pox can also be used to meet these requirements. Michigan requires the same vaccinations, with the addition of a dose of meningitis vaccine for grades 7-12.
We know, that sounds like a lot to try and track down! The good news is that your clinic is able to see what your child might need to be up to date and get them caught up on any necessary vaccines, making it easy for parents who are already juggling a million back to school tasks. Your child’s medical provider can also address any questions you might have about vaccine schedules and recommendations. This includes answering questions around seasonal flu or covid vaccines, which are not currently required but are recommended.
If you’re not sure whether your child needs any vaccines to catch up with school requirements, don’t wait, call your clinic and speak with a member of your child’s care team to get an appointment scheduled if needed. Are you new to the area or searching for a new clinic for your child? All of our medical providers at NorthLakes serve all ages of patients and work with other in-house specialty providers to build a medical home environment for all patients. Give us a call at 888-834-4551 to establish care for your child.
Lori Cannon is a registered nurse and Clinical Care Management Specialist at NorthLakes Community Clinic.