New vaccine requirements for children returning to school, daycare

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 11:13 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Medical experts want to remind parents not to forget about the required immunizations children will need before they return back to the classroom this fall. This year, there are even more vaccines required for children as the state works to comply with CDC guidelines for other illnesses, not just COVID.

Depending on your child’s grade, the immunization requirements will differ. With people now racing to get COVID shots for their children, doctors say you won’t want to waste any time getting other vaccinations that are not optional.

“When kids didn’t go to school, parents thought ‘oh my kids aren’t in school, I don’t have to worry about vaccines.’ Now, with kids going back to school in person, it’s become really important. The worry is there’s going to be a big backlog in pediatrician offices,” said Julie Bilodeau of Crossover Ministry Healthcare.

No one wants that potential backlog to mean a delay in getting your kid back to school. A series of vaccines are required and this year, the requirements have changed. Beginning in less than a month, all students in Virginia will need vaccines to protect against Meningitis, HPV and Hepatitis A. That’s on top of previously required immunizations. Without them, your child may not be able to start school on time or go to daycare.

With COVID changing our world this year, medical experts don’t want children to be left behind as we work to get back to normal.

“Last spring, when a lot of parents were scared to come into the office for obvious reasons, those kids who were scheduled to get their regular vaccines, we saw a sharp decline,” said Nurse Practitioner Katie St. Germain.

That means a lot of parents will be playing catchup as others work to simply comply with the new requirements. Some of the new guidelines will require multiple visits to the doctor.

“It might be a little trickier to get an appointment. So you don’t want to wait till the last minute. Go ahead, call your pediatrician so there’s not going to be a delay come September,” St. Germain suggested.

One of the previously required vaccines is Tdap. It protects against Tetanus and other diseases. It was initially required for those starting 6th grade, but now the state is changing that to 7th grade. Since many 6th graders didn’t get it last year due to the pandemic, doctors are working to get them caught up this year.

There are a couple of free vaccination clinics coming up in Henrico for families in need. Both will be held at Crossover Ministry’s Henrico Clinic at 8600 Quioccasin Road on Saturday, July 17, and Saturday, Aug. 14 from 9 a.m. until 1 pm. For more information, call 804-655-2794.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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