Health department promotes back-to-school list to include vaccinations

Published 7:35 pm Friday, August 9, 2019

Does your back to school list include vaccines? When it comes to preparing your child for going back to school, the first items that usually come to mind are pencils, notebooks and other school related items. However, a key component of every child’s back-to-school list should include child immunizations and boosters.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, from newborns to college students, vaccinations can prevent serious diseases such as measles, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and many others. Thirty-two of Beaufort County Schools’ 6,535 students have not been vaccinated, which means there is a 99.51% vaccination rate. Ensuring that your child’s vaccinations are up to date is a vital part of their current health and wellbeing, as well as a part of protecting your children for the future. The North Carolina General Statutes (G.S. 130A-152(a)) requires immunizations for every child that is present within the state. In order to make sure our children are safe and healthy, every parent and guardian must be responsible in ensuring every child receives the required immunizations.

The current North Carolina vaccination requirements by N.C. Administrative Code 10A NCAC 41A.0401 for children entering kindergarten include the following: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (five doses), polio (four doses), measles (two doses), mumps (two doses), rubella (one dose), Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) (four doses), hepatitis B (three doses), varicella (chickenpox) (two doses) and pneumococcal conjugate (four doses). By seventh grade, children are required to have the following additional vaccinations: tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (one dose), and meningococcal conjugate (one dose).

When children are not vaccinated, they can spread preventable, life-threatening diseases to other children, classmates and family members, which include parents, siblings and grandparents. Promoting the usage of vaccinations can improve our vaccination rate and our herd immunity. Herd immunity is an effective way to protect those who are immune suppressed or individuals who are currently taking chemotherapy. By promoting required and timely vaccinations, we can further protect those individuals who are more susceptible to infections due to immune system defects.

Vaccinations are considered to be a safe and effective way for the prevention of disease from infancy to adulthood. With August being National Immunization Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to ensure your children are ready to get back to school and are up to date on all of their vaccinations. Together, we can stop the spread of disease to our children, families and our communities! Vaccinate to protect our future!

Before your vaccine appointment, refer to the complete childhood vaccine assessment tool on the CDC’s website at For more information about North Carolina’s K-12 school immunization requirements, visit or email the Beaufort County Health Department at It’s not too late to vaccinate! To review the catch-up vaccination schedule visit,

Jessica Blackwell, public health education specialist, can be reached at the Beaufort County Health Department by calling 252-946-1902.