This article appeared in Metro Parent. Read the full story here.

Is your child up to date on her vaccines? Do you know what vaccinations are required for her to attend classes in the fall? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, read on.

It’s no secret that vaccinations are vital to your child’s health and well-being – yet in early 2019, Michigan experienced a measles outbreak that put children and families across the state at risk. Still, some families opt out of vaccinating their children for non-medical reasons. However, it’s not the ideal practice.

“We would never recommend to opt out,” says Cheryl Woods, division director for family health services at the Macomb County Health Department. “If an individual comes to the health department to be immunized, we would recommend that the child receive all age appropriate vaccines, not just the vaccines that are required for school entry.”

And in fact, when it comes to vaccines and children even being accepted into a school, there are requirements set by the state.

“Per the Michigan Public Health Code, a child that does not have the required vaccines must have a certified non-medical waiver, an approved medical waiver and/or laboratory evidence of immunity,” says Laila Alhindi, a senior nurse at Macomb County Health Department’s School Immunization Program. “If a child does not meet this criteria, they must be excluded from the program or school.”

Not sure which vaccines your child needs for school? Read on for insight, plus get details on the Macomb County Health Department’s immunization programs.

Required vaccines for birth-age 6

Vaccines can protect children from 14 serious diseases, including chickenpox, diphtheria, Hib, hepatitis A and B, influenza, measles, mumps, polio, pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus and whopping cough.

All kindergartners and 4-6-year-old transfer students should have the following vaccinations:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis: 4 doses DTP or DTaP (one dose must be at or after 4 years old)
  • Polio: 4 doses (3 doses if third dose was given at or after 4 years old)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): 2 doses at or after 12 months of age
  • Hepatitis B: 3 doses
  • Varicella (chickenpox): 2 doses at or right after 12 months of age, current lab immunity or history of varicella disease

Required vaccines for ages 7-18

Some childhood vaccines wear off with time, and children also become susceptible to other diseases as they get older. That’s why some of the required vaccines must be administered again. See below for the dosage list:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis: 4 doses D and T of 3 doses Td if first dose is given at or after age 1; one 1 dose Tdap at age 11 or older upon entry into grade 7 or higher
  • Polio: 4 doses (3 doses if third dose was given at or after 4 years old)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): 2 doses at or after 12 months of age
  • Hepatitis B: 3 doses
  • Meningococcal conjugate: 1 dose at age 11 or older upon entry into grade 7 or higher
  • Varicella (chickenpox): 2 doses at or right after 12 months of age, current lab immunity or history of varicella disease

In addition to the required vaccines, there are a number of recommended vaccines that provide the best protection from all vaccine-preventable diseases. Hepatitis A, for example, is a recommended vaccine (by age 2). The flu vaccine is another recommended vaccine, as well.

In addition, thanks to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, also known as MCIR, if a child goes to any doctor’s office or a health department, they can look in the state registry to view the child’s immunization history.

“There is a law that anyone who is administering vaccines to children needs to enter those vaccines into the state registry,” Woods says. “Having up-to-date information in the registry ensures that children are not under or over immunized.”