Iowa kids who are heading for kindergarten in another week or two will need to have several immunizations before school starts. Betty Krones, a disease prevention specialist at the Cerro Gordo County Health Department, says kindergarteners should have four vaccines which cover a variety of ailments.
Krones says they should be getting vaccines that cover chicken pox; the D-Tap that covers diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis; polio; and the MMR, which deals with measles, mumps and rubella. Krones says there’s been a bump in the number of measles cases nationwide in the past year, with outbreaks in the Twin Cities and one case in Des Moines.
Older kids also need some shots. Krones says parents may forget about getting their middle school-aged child immunizations, since they typically won’t be into the doctor unless it’s for a sports physical.
Middle schoolers need a T-Dap vaccine that covers tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis in addition to a meningococcal vaccine to cover meningitis. Students will also need to get an updated chicken pox booster shot if they haven’t had one already. Krones says parents should also think about having their middle school student get the Gardisil vaccine that helps combat human papillomavirus — for both males and females — and to help prevent cervical cancer in women in later life.
She says it’s licensed for ages nine to 26 years, but middle school is a good time to start that. Krones says Iowa teens who are headed off to college also need to get at least two vaccines. She says college students should be getting a meningococcal vaccine that helps prevent meningitis and a chicken pox vaccine if they haven’t had their second booster.
She says it’s also recommended, but not required, that students would get an HPV vaccine, as well as a flu shot.
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City