Make sure vaccinations are on your back-to-school to-do list

Concept photo of injecting vaccine

Contact: Monica Taylor, 210-508-2488,
Contact: Steven Lee, 210-450-3823,

SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 4, 2021 – August not only marks the beginning of school for most children, but it also is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month. UT Health San Antonio reminds parents/caregivers that vaccinations are required by Texas law for school-aged children.

Whether children attend a public, private, charter or religious school, or are home-schooled, they are required to be up to date based on their age for certain vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as chickenpox, meningitis, pertussis (whooping cough) and others are still active throughout Texas. Children staying current with vaccinations is the best way to protect schools and communities from diseases that can cause unnecessary illness, and even death.

“Vaccines not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but they also help protect the entire community by reducing and preventing the spread of infectious diseases,” said Karen Schwab, PhD, APRN, a pediatric nurse practitioner at UT Health San Antonio.

Dr. Schwab said parents/caregivers should contact their child’s health care provider to confirm they are up to date on vaccinations, and to set an appointment if not. She provides the below general guidance.

Four-year-old children require:

  • Fifth dose DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis)
  • Fourth dose IPV (polio)
  • Second dose varicella (chickenpox) and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)

In some cases, these can be combined, so only two pokes are needed.

By seventh grade:

  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis booster)
  • MCV (meningococcal)

Although these are due by the seventh grade, children are eligible beginning at age 11, which is highly recommended.

Entering college:

  • Second dose of meningococcal vaccine

Students are eligible beginning at age 16, which is recommended.


  • HPV (human papillomavirus) starting at age 9
  • COVID-19 starting at age 12, for Pfizer (can be given at same time as other vaccines now)
  • MCV supplement, beginning at age 16
  • Flu vaccine in the fall

Parents/caregivers can also view schedules online to stay on track with immunizations. The parent-friendly version of the 2021 recommended vaccinations for infants and children (ages birth through 18 years) can be found on the CDC webpage:

To request a copy of a child’s immunization record, visit the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District webpage: Requesting Immunization Records (

Dr. Schwab notes that for children who are uninsured or have an insurance plan that does not cover vaccines, the Texas Vaccine for Children (VFC) program can help. She said parents or caregivers can ask if their health care provider participates in the VFC program. While some providers might charge a small administration fee, she said, the vaccines are free.

To schedule a pediatric appointment at UT Health San Antonio Wellness 360, please call 210-567-2788, option 3.



The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, also referred to as UT Health San Antonio, is one of the country’s leading health sciences universities and is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. With missions of teaching, research, patient care and community engagement, its schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have graduated 39,700 alumni who are leading change, advancing their fields, and renewing hope for patients and their families throughout South Texas and the world. To learn about the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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