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Beat the back-to-school vaccine rush

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TYLER (KYTX) - Along with shopping and a new haircut, doctors want you to add one more item to your child's back-to-school list- vaccines.

During the first week of school, nurses will go through vaccine records to make sure kids are up to date. They'll be sending notes home to parents of those who aren't. This usually slams doctors' offices the first few weeks of school because kids aren't allowed to go back until they've had their shots.

4-year-old Jakyrin Price is getting his vaccines out of the way.

"You ok?" the nurse asks.

"Yes." he says. 

Dr. Valerie Smith with St. Paul Children's Clinic in Tyler says kids his age need the following vaccines:

  • DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis)
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Chickenpox

"The Pertussis is especially important here in East Texas because over the last few years, we've seen more cases of whooping cough. That's what Pertussis is." says Dr. Smith. 

"Mmk sweetie, you're all done. Good job."

The next important age group is 11-year-olds going into middle school. Those children need a TDaP booster and a Meningitis vaccine.

Freshman college students are also required to have a Meningitis booster. State legislators passed that law two years ago.

"The reason for that is because it's spread by close contact, and so, people who are living in dorms are much more at risk to spread it to each other if one of them becomes sick."

Dr. Smith says Meningitis and many of these other diseases are very dangerous- even deadly, which is why vaccines are so important.

"It's just one more layer of protection we can give them as we send them out the door for school."

She says having that peace of mind is priceless for mothers like her.

This isn't required for school, but Dr. Smith also strongly recommends getting children a flu vaccine. Those don't have to be shots. They also come as nasal sprays now, which might be easier for your child to take.

Flu vaccines aren't available yet in Texas. Be on the lookout for them at the end of September or beginning of October.

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