Back to School Vaccines

General Health and Preventive Care  /  Blog

Back to School Vaccines

PlushCare Content Team

Written by PlushCare Content Team

PlushCare Content Team

PlushCare Content Team

The PlushCare team is composed of medical doctors, registered nurses, and health experts who enjoy writing about health topics. Our content is reviewed by our team of medical professionals to ensure accuracy.

Ken Cosby M.D.

Reviewed by Ken Cosby M.D.

August 11, 2021 / Read Time 5 minutes

*NOTE:  Due to a lack of scientific data at this time, PlushCare physicians do not prescribe ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, or azithromycin/other antibiotics to treat COVID-19.

It’s that time of year again. The back-to-school season is here, and that may mean that it’s time for your children to get more vaccinations.

You should listen to your doctor’s advice and follow the school’s requirements. However, here are the vaccine guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the vaccines required for school.

  1. 1

    Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  3. 3

    Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

What Vaccines are Required for School?

Kindergarten Vaccines

As your child enters kindergarten, they will need the following vaccinations: 

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis) (DTaP)

  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)

  • Chickenpox (varicella)

  • Polio (IPV)

  • Yearly influenza (flu) vaccine

Elementary School Vaccines

If your child is caught up on all their kindergarten vaccines, they shouldn’t need any other required vaccines for school. The one exception is that the CDC recommends that children get the annual influenza (flu) vaccine every year.

Middle School Vaccines

As your kid gets ready to head to middle school, the CDC recommends the following vaccines:

  • HPV vaccine

  • Tdap

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine

  • Flu vaccine every flu season

High School Vaccines

Your teenager should be current on their vaccinations by now. The only thing to worry about is the yearly influenza (flu) vaccine.

College Vaccines

As young adults prepare for college, the CDC recommends the following vaccines:

  • Tdap

  • HPV vaccine (for those not vaccinated at a younger age)

  • Flu vaccine every flu season

Some states also require students entering college to be vaccinated against other diseases, such as meningitis, due to the increased risk among students living in residential housing facilities.

Does My Child Need to Be Vaccinated to Attend School?

Your state and local vaccination requirements will determine whether or not your child needs to be vaccinated to attend school. 

State laws outline the required vaccines for school children, including requirements for children in public schools, private schools, and daycare facilities. All state vaccination requirements have medical exemptions, and some state laws offer religious and/or philosophical exemptions.

Will Colleges Require COVID-19 Vaccines?

Yes, colleges may require the COVID-19 vaccine for students returning to school this fall. Many U.S. colleges already require on-campus students to provide proof of required immunizations for school to minimize the spread of illnesses across campus. However, many experts agree that vaccines are the best way to ensure a safer semester this fall.

COVID-19 Vaccines for College Students

The CDC’s COVID-19 vaccination program is assigning colleges and universities a key role in distribution, and some U.S. colleges are already administering COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccine for School Children

The COVID-19 vaccine is now authorized for use in children between the ages of 12 - 15 years of age. Although children seem to be less affected by the virus than adults, children do not face zero risk from infection or illness.

With that said, clinical trials are expected to begin in children as young as 6 months old. “The timing for when the vaccine will be available for kids depends on the results of the clinical trials,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. “But based on the current pace of research, it may be possible to have a vaccine for at least some children and adolescents before the 2021-22 school year begins.”

The Importance of Required Immunizations for School

You may think that your child has a healthy immune system and doesn’t need all the recommended vaccines. However, vaccines protect more than just your child.

Some children with a weak immune system cannot receive vaccines. While your child may survive chickenpox, measles, or mild COVID-19 symptoms, they can pass it to a classmate who may experience complications as a result of your decision not to vaccinate your kid.

People with weak immune systems, including those battling cancer or other life-threatening diseases, rely on herd immunity to keep them safe.

If enough of the population (at least 93–95%) is vaccinated, sick people who cannot get vaccines are more likely protected from preventable diseases. If too many people do not get vaccinated, the entire community is affected because the most vulnerable people get sicker.

Why Does My Child Need the Flu Vaccine Every Year?

The influenza virus is always mutating, and therefore produces several different strains of the virus yearly. Each flu season, a different strain sweeps through the population as the main virus of infection. As a result, we need to make a new flu vaccine every year to cover the outbreak.

Although most vaccines provide a lifetime of protection once somebody has received all the booster shots, influenza is different. While the flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective, it’s still important to protect as many people as possible.

Related: How Long Does the Flu Shot Last?

But the Flu Is Harmless, Right?

Despite the common misconception that everybody recovers from the flu and that the vaccine is pointless, tens of thousands of people die from flu-related complications every year.

According to the CDC, there are typically 12,000–56,000 flu-related deaths in the United States every year. The 2017–2018 flu season was one of the worst on record, with 80,000 Americans dying from the flu or its complications.

While your child may have a strong enough immune system to fight the flu, they may have a classmate who doesn’t. Also, children under 5 and adults over 65 are the most at risk. Giving your kid the flu vaccine every year can help protect your child, family, and the community.

  1. 1

    Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  3. 3

    Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

COVID Doctor’s Note for School

If your children are at high risk of developing COVID-19-related complications, it may be worth considering keeping your child home from school until a vaccine is available.

A doctor’s note is a legal excuse verifying your child’s absence from school. Depending on your child’s condition, your child’s doctor may specify limitations in daily activities, including work and school. For example, your child’s doctor may write that your child is unable to attend any in-person classes due to a weakened immune system.

Luckily, getting a COVID-19 doctor’s note for school is simple and convenient. When you book an appointment with PlushCare, one of our licensed medical doctors can write you a legitimate doctor’s note following your consultation.

Read More About Vaccines


PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Vaccines by Age. Accessed on August 14, 2019 at

  • American Academy of Pediatrics. When can children get the COVID-19 vaccine? Accessed on April 15, 2021 at

  • Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Herd immunity. Accessed on April 15, 2021 at 

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017-2018 Estimated Influenza Illnesses, Medical visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths and Estimated Influenza Illnesses, Medical visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths Averted by Vaccination in the United States. Accessed on April 15, 2021 at,Conclusion,the%202017%E2%80%932018%20influenza%20season.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

Our commitment to you.

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Research from sources you can trust

Medical reviews by field experts

Frequent content updates