Time for back-to-school vaccines - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Time for back-to-school vaccines

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MADISON (WKOW) -- It's back-to-school time, so you may have already gotten your kids new notebooks, pencils and backpacks, but are they up to date with their vaccines? State health officials are encouraging parents to make immunization appointments for their kids before the school year starts.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says families with health insurance will need to schedule these appointments with their health care provider. DHS also says parents should contact their insurance company if they are uncertain whether their insurance covers vaccinations. For those without insurance, there are state-supplied vaccines available at local health departments through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

Dan Hopfensperger, the director of Wisconsin's Immunization Program with DHS, says the required and recommended vaccines vary on the child's age.

For children in kindergarten through fifth grade the required vaccines include:

  • DTaP to prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Polio vaccine
  • Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR)
  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Varicella vaccine to prevent chickenpox

For middle and high school students, Hopfensperger says the vaccines are essentially the same, but require a dose of Tdap vaccine as well. He says the Tdap vaccine protects adolescents and adults against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

There are no required vaccinations for college students, but there are some that are recommended, like the Tdap vaccine, meningococcal conjugate vaccine; to prevent meningitis, and HPV vaccine; to prevent various cancers. The HPV vaccine and the meningococcal conjugate vaccine are also recommended for teens.

If you would like to understand which vaccines are required or recommended for your children, click here. You can also keep track of vaccines your children have already received, by visiting the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR).

Hopfensperger joined us on 27 News at 5 on Tuesday.

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