Fort Worth, Texas,
10:05 AM

Have a Child Going Into 7th Grade? Why You Should Schedule Their Adolescent Vaccines Now

With the school year ending and the COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon for children 12 and up, now is the time to start thinking about vaccines your child may need for the next school year. Students going into 7th grade should have their adolescent vaccines, including Tdap, Meningitis, and HPV vaccine before the school year begins. Jason Terk, M.D., a pediatrician at Cook Children’s Keller Parkway, is urging parents to get these vaccines now, so their child can be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as it becomes available.

Pfizer-BioNTech recently released information regarding their COVID-19 vaccine being safe and effective for children 12 to 15. The company has applied for an emergency use authorization (EAU) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so that this group of preteens can receive the vaccine.

What do parents need to know?

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many children across the country spent the last school year learning remotely from a computer screen. Before entering 7th grade, children get their adolescent vaccines needed to start the school year. Because of the pandemic, some parents weren’t able to get their children in for their routine check-up appointments which means there are now a significant number of 12-year-olds finishing up 6th grade who still need to get their adolescent vaccines.

While this would normally be just fine, Dr. Terk warns that adolescent vaccines need to happen sooner than later because children 12-15 may soon have access to COVID-19 vaccination as early as May 2021.

The Issue

If a parent is interested in getting their child vaccinated against COVID-19, the child cannot have any other vaccines two weeks before or after their two-part COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is given in two doses, three weeks apart. This means there is a seven-week period in which only the COVID-19 vaccine may be given.

With students entering 7th grade in just a few months, Dr. Terk wants parents to get the routine adolescent vaccines done now, so when the COVID-19 vaccine is available there is no timing conflict.

The Recommendation

Call your pediatrician and make an appointment to get all upcoming vaccines as soon as possible. If your child has been to their yearly appointment in the last 12 months but did not get the vaccinations needed to begin 7th grade, call and make an appointment to get those vaccines now. By getting adolescent vaccines done now, parents can get their 12-15 year old kids vaccinated against COVID-19 if and when those vaccines become available to them this summer.