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Vaccine schedules for back to school

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Texas children have a better likelihood of fighting off diseases circulating at school if their parents make sure they get their shots before the first bell rings. Doctors urge parents to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended school vaccine schedule to build their child’s immune system against dangerous diseases.

“School is an easy place for children to become infected and sick from a number of germs,” Austin Pediatrician Kim Avila Edwards said. “Fortunately, we can protect our children by vaccinating them from many illnesses. In fact, children should receive many important vaccinations before they reach school age.”

Dr. Avila Edwards recently worked with the Texas Medical Association (TMA) on a video highlighting the importance of following Texas' recommended vaccination schedule from kindergarten to college. The video can be viewed on the TMA YouTube channel.

The vaccination schedule, approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group of medical and public health experts who develop national vaccine guidelines, contains 12 shots that protect against 16 illnesses. Following the vaccination schedule builds up a child’s immunity. However, if parents hold off or space out the shots over time (instead of following physicians’ guidelines), studies show children are vulnerable to getting sick for a longer period of time.

 “As a pediatrician, I have treated children who are very ill because of vaccine preventable diseases. I would much rather vaccinate and protect them than to see them suffer from serious illnesses,” Avila Edwards said.

Immunizing children protects them from diseases that could make them very ill or even threaten their lives, and reduces the likelihood they’ll pass a disease to someone else who cannot be vaccinated or who cannot fight infections.

Children should get these disease-preventing vaccinations at several intervals in their lives, starting very young.

“All Texas public schools, most private schools, and colleges require certain shots before kids start kindergarten, seventh grade, and the freshman year of college,” she said. “Check with your doctor before classes start to make sure your child’s vaccines are current.”

Visit the TMA website for a full vaccine schedule and to see efforts to raise immunization awareness and how funding is used to increase vaccination rates.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 51,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.


Entering Kindergarten & 6th Grade:


  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Pneumococcal
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella (chicken pox)


  • Flu (yearly, starting at 6 months)

Seventh through 12th grade:


  • Meningococcal
  • Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) 


  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Flu



  • Meningococcal (for admission to college) 


  • HPV
  • Flu
  • Meningococcal B

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