Many Kentucky kids will need additional vaccines before the 2018-2019 school year begins. Before the first day of classes, all students must have two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine.
Although that may seem like plenty of time, parents should start scheduling appointments with their pediatricians now.
“The two vaccines need to be given at least six months apart,” said Becky Carothers, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Associates – Broadway. “The absolute latest a parent should wait for that first vaccine is February, but the sooner the better.”
The good news is that your child might already be vaccinated. Hepatitis A shots are recommended for babies at 12 and 18 months. If you have proxy access to your child’s MyNortonChart record, you can check his or her vaccine status. If you’re still not sure, check with your pediatrician.
“If your child received the vaccines when they were a baby, then they don’t need them now,” Dr. Carothers said. “Hepatitis A is not historically documented on immunization records. Patients may just need an updated shot record and not the actual vaccines.”
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Don’t wait for an appointment
The second new state requirement is only for students age 16 and older. They must have received two doses of meningococcal ACWY vaccine.
“Ideally, kids should receive the first meningococcal vaccine at age 11 or 12, and then the second at 16,” Dr. Carothers said. “However, these two doses can be administered eight weeks apart. If your teen hasn’t had any of the vaccines, there’s still time, but I wouldn’t wait to schedule an appointment.”
Local school officials suggest all parents take the following steps to make sure their children are covered:
- Confirm with your child’s health care provider that these vaccines have been given to your child, or make an appointment for your child to receive the vaccines.
- Ask your child’s health care provider for an updated copy of your child’s Kentucky Certificate of Immunization Status.
- Give a copy of the immunization certificate to your child’s school.