New school year means new required vaccinations

BRISTOL, Tenn. - When you're checking off your children's back-to-school list, you may want to double-check their vaccinations -- kids are required to have certain vaccinations depending on what grade they are going in.

Kids will soon be flooding into classrooms to start another school year, but if they haven't had their vaccinations they may not be allowed to start until they get them.

Any child going into Pre-K or kindergarten is required to have numerous shots including diphtheria, pertussis (also known as whooping cough), and tetanus. They must also have measles, mumps, and rubella. Other vaccinations needed are chicken pox and polio.

Kids going to Tennessee schools are required to also have Hepatitis A. "In Virginia you do not have to have a Hepatitis A [shot]. In Tennessee you do," says pediatrician Dr. Tom Makres.

Children that are eleven years old are required to have pertussis, tetanus, meningococcal, and chicken pox if they haven't already had two. "That's relatively recent. When they discovered that the pertussis immunity levels in children's bodies were low, they recommended a booster at 11," adds Dr. Makres.

Makres says it's important everyone gets the right vaccinations, "Why do we do all this? Well the answer is the reason they came out with the shots in the first place is because these diseases, if they ever come back, can be devastating," says Dr. Makres.

Makres encourages all parents to remind their kids to make sure they wash their hands to keep germs from spreading, "Good hand washing is always appropriate and that's why you either need to wash with soap and water or use [an antibacterial] gel," adds Makres.

Makres also told us if your child is sick and has a temperature over 100 degrees, you should keep them home because the sickness can spread to their classmates.

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