An essential piece of returning to school is keeping track of an immunization schedule for children. As remote learning comes to an end for many, and as some families have moved during the pandemic, it’s important to know the immunizations required before that first day.
Missing records can mean more missed school, so parents should be prepared with complete vaccination records to avoid delays. Urgent care services and your doctor’s office will all have the necessary vaccination information for the upcoming school year.
Keep in mind that while requirements can vary from state to state, required vaccinations within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) match federal recommendations.
Immunization Schedule for Children Entering TK/K
By far, the bulk of recommended immunizations happen before a child enters school for the first time. Children entering TK/K will need to have the following vaccines as part of their childhood immunization record before the first day of school:
- Five doses of Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP, DTP, Tdap, or Td)
- Four doses of Polio (OPV or IPV)
- Three doses of Hepatitis B
- Two doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
- Two doses of Varicella (Chickenpox)
These immunizations are also required for any child entering the public school system in Los Angeles from outside of the district. That means any child from K-12 should have these vaccines completed before they come for their first day in LAUSD.
That first round of vaccinations can seem overwhelming to some parents, but they all protect against some severe diseases.
DTaP, DTP, Tdap and Td
The DTaP vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis, or whooping cough. All three are serious bacterial diseases that can lead to death in the most severe cases. Whooping cough is most serious in infants, although the respiratory tract infection is highly contagious.
Tdap is the booster to DTaP, typically given to adolescents. In LAUSD, the booster is administered before children start 7th grade.
DTP refers to an older version of the DTaP. While DTaP has effectively replaced the DTP vaccine across the United States, children entering the district from elsewhere with a record of DTP shots will be considered covered under the DTaP requirement. Td is a vaccine that protects against tetanus and diphtheria and is typically given to adolescents and adults.
OPV or IPV
IPV is the preferred vaccine against polio in the United States. Students coming from other countries may have received the OPV vaccine. Both would be considered valid on an immunization schedule for children in LAUSD. In LAUSD, three doses of the vaccines are acceptable if one was given on or after a child’s 4th birthday.
Thanks to vaccinations, the United States has been polio-free since 1979. The debilitating disease is still a problem in some parts of the world, making it critical to continue vaccination efforts until it is truly eradicated worldwide.
The hepatitis B vaccine prevents serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The hepatitis b virus can cause long-term damage to the liver, even liver failure or death in the most severe cases. The best prevention is still the vaccine.
The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella. The doses should be given at least 28 days apart. In LAUSD, the recommendation is that both are administered on or after a child’s 1st birthday.
This series of vaccines prevent three highly contagious diseases, with measles the most serious and most contagious of the three. The worst cases of measles can cause pneumonia, brain damage and even death. By far, the best protection against measles, mumps and rubella is vaccination.
The chickenpox vaccine prevents cases of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The highly contagious disease results in itchy, blistering rashes on the skin and can be life-threatening in the very young or those with compromised immune systems.
The vaccine is typically given in two doses, ideally between 12-15 months and between 4-6 years of age. Older children who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine can receive two doses at least 28 days apart with the same effectiveness.
Immunization Schedule for Children Entering 7th Grade
Seventh grade is an additional benchmark for children in the Los Angeles public schools. A student’s child immunization record should include the following for 7th-grade advancement:
- One dose of Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap)
- Two doses of Varicella (Chickenpox)
Again, any students coming into LAUSD from other states, even outside of the country, should be up-to-date on all of their vaccinations before their first day of school.
Where Does COVID-19 Fit In?
Currently, there are no mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for children in the Los Angeles public schools. In response to an uptick in cases and as a way to allow for the safe reopening of schools, the district has mandated weekly COVID testing for students and staff, no matter their vaccination status.
This baseline testing will be done by mobile testing teams at every school site. Parents also have the option of keeping their children at home with a continuation of virtual learning.
Navigating Child Vaccination Requirements
It can be challenging to navigate the vaccinations required for a safe return to school. Your doctor’s office or urgent care in Los Angeles will be able to answer any additional questions you may have. From worries about the return to school to any immunization requirements, healthcare providers can support you in getting your child in the door that first day with a complete medical record.
Contact us at Reliant. We’re here to help in any way we can to take some stress off of the return to school and work through required vaccination schedules with you.