Vaccinate before you graduate

College bound, woo hoo! But, are you really ready? Is your child ready? Before you start this new adventure in life, be sure you are fully informed of what your college requires, and what your state requires in regards to vaccinations.

Many think vaccines are just for babies and young school aged children. However, as children get older, the protection provided by some early childhood vaccines can actually wear off. And, children also generally develop risks for more diseases as they approach their teen years. For these reasons, older children, including teens, and college aged adults, need to receive several recommended vaccinations.

According to the CDC website ( the following vaccinations are recommended for college students:

Tetanus-Diptheria-Pertussis vaccine

Meningococcal vaccine

HPV vaccine series

Hepatitis B vaccine series

Polio vaccine series

Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine series

Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine series

Influenza vaccine

Pneumococcal polysaccharid (PPV) vaccine

Hepatitis A vaccine series

Seems like a pretty large list, in comparison to the normal Tetanus, MMR & Polio vaccines that once were given. Yet, now it is said that there are vaccines available to protect children and adults against at least 15 life-threatening or crippling diseases.

But before you run to your doctor with this list in hand, be sure to check your state’s requirements, and actually more specifically your college’s requirements. Because according to the website, each state actually varies in what is required for their college students.

There are some immunizations that are required in some states that aren’t in others. For example the Hepatitis B vaccine is only required in: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

On the other hand, a more serious vaccine like the Meningococcal vaccine is required in all states, except: Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. In the other 37 states that require it, their education mandate states that it is required for incoming freshman that will be living on campus.

So although you may think you are fully prepared to go, be sure to make sure you really are. Do your own homework first and double check what vaccines are required for your institution. Your college should let you know ahead of time what is necessary, but what if they don’t?! You will want to be fully prepared, so don’t forget when you are packing your child’s belongings in the car; be sure you pack their immunization record, because they are going to need it.


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