Sunday, December 4, 2022

Health officials encourage early vaccination of schoolchildren

The Texas Department of State Health Services is encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated now to avoid the back-to-school rush later this summer.

Last year, DSHS implemented new vaccination requirements for five vaccines for students in kindergarten and seventh grade. The new requirements are being phased in over several years.

For the 2010-2011 school year, the requirements also will apply to first- and eighth-graders who did not receive the required vaccines in kindergarten or seventh grade.

“We want parents to plan ahead,” said Dr. David Lakey, DSHS commissioner. “Schoolchildren should get vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid long wait times at clinics and ensure they are protected before the first day of school.”

With new requirements implemented last year, many physicians’ offices and clinics were overwhelmed last summer by last-minute demand for vaccines. Children are required to be fully immunized before the first day of school. Last year DSHS extended the deadline for parents to get their children in compliance with some of the vaccination requirements for school attendance.

Following are the new vaccination requirements announced last year. For a complete list of all vaccine requirements, go to

Before attending the first day of school, kindergarteners and first-graders need to have had: two varicella or chickenpox vaccines, two hepatitis A vaccines and two MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines.

Seventh through 12th grade students need to have had one booster shot of the Tdap vaccine (a combination of the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines).

Students entering seventh grade are required to have had a booster dose of Tdap only if it has been five years since their last dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine.

Eighth through twelfth grade students need to have had a booster dose of Tdap only if has been 10 years since their last dose of tetanus-containing vaccine.

Seventh- and eighth-graders need to get two doses of chickenpox vaccine if they have not had the illness and one dose of the meningitis vaccine.

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