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DHEC encourages parents to get their students vaccinated now in preparation for school

In a few weeks, South Carolina students will begin returning to school, and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is reminding parents to be sure that vaccines are on their child’s back-to-school list.

South Carolina children enrolled in childcare (including pre-K) and 5K through 12th grade must be up to date on the required vaccines for their grade level before school starts.

The importance of vaccines can’t be understated. “Unfortunately, vaccine-preventable diseases, such as chicken pox, whooping cough, mumps and measles still affect many children in South Carolina,” said Dr. Teresa Foo, DHEC Immunization Division medical consultant. “Up-to-date vaccinations are the best protection for our children against these diseases.”

Children of all ages need vaccines. DHEC urges parents not to forget that their preteens age 11-12 years old are recommended to get Tdap, HPV, and meningitis vaccines. A Tdap booster is required for all students before starting 7th grade. It is also important to be ready for a new Hep A vaccine requirement for childcare and 5K, which starts for the 2020-2021 school year.

Appointment slots fill up quickly in August, so now is the time to call your health care provider and schedule a well child visit or physical for your student. You may also contact your local health department at 1-855-472-3432 to schedule an appointment to get vaccines.  Avoid the back-to-school rush. Ask about what vaccines your child needs for childcare or school and make sure he or she is healthy and ready to start the school year.

For more information on what vaccinations your child needs, visit www.scdhec.gov/health/vaccinations/childcare-school-vaccine-requirements.