ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The start of school is less than two weeks away for most kids and it's time to try and fit in those last-minute doctor appointments for physicals and vaccinations.
Dr. Rachel Dawkins is a Pediatrician at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.
"All vaccines are important. They're safe, they're effective and they save lives," Dawkins said. "If you're not sure if you're child's had vaccines then check with your pediatrician because we can check in the state system."
Most children are vaccinated as babies and toddlers, but need boosters around kindergarten and seventh grade.
There are new questions about the measles vaccines with outbreaks across the country. According to Dawkins, most children get vaccinated for measles at 1 and 4 years old and if they're not vaccinated, they're definitely at risk for getting measles.
Also, check with your doctor to find out if your child has had the hepatitis A vaccine. It's been recommended by the CDC since 1996, but Dawkins says it isn't a required vaccine to get into school.
"There's been huge hepatitis A outbreaks, especially in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, so make sure you're child's had both of their vaccines," Dawkins said. "It's two-shot series."
Other vaccines to think about: Gardisil.
"Gardisil is recommended for both boys and girls. We start at age 9. It's a two-shot series if they get it less than 15 years old," Dawkins said. "So we highly recommend it. It's a vaccine that prevents cancer."
And meningitis, especially for college freshmen.
"Very important because meningitis outbreaks are seen at college campuses because college students live in closer quarters and that really spreads rapidly," Dawkins said.
The best thing to do for your school kid is to schedule a visit with your pediatrician each year before school starts to cover all these concerns.
Also, if you're child is playing sports, they will likely need a special sports physical. Tell your pediatrician because it does require different forms to be signed by the doctor.
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