Back to School Boosters

Back to School Immunizations

The state of Iowa requires specific immunizations at certain ages and intervals in order to enroll in school or attend child care centers licensed by the Iowa Department of Human Services. Families must have documentation to prove their children have been immunized against various diseases and have received their booster shots.

Children must have the proper doses of the following immunizations before they can attend schools or licensed child care centers:

  • Hep B to prevent hepatitis B
  • DTaP to protect against diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw) and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • IPV to prevent polio
  • MMR for measles, mumps, rubella (German measles)
  • Varicella to prevent chickenpox

Children who are moderately to severely ill at the scheduled immunization time should wait until they have recovered to receive these required vaccines.

Families should also discuss what recommendations their health care providers have regarding influenza immunizations, or flu shots, for children.

Be aware of the intervals or ages that your children will need immunizations. Vaccines administered less than four days before the minimum interval or age are considered valid. But if the vaccine is administered more than five days before the minimum interval or age, the vaccine is invalid and must be repeated again at the appropriate time.

If your child is about to attend public or private school or a licensed child care center, you are required to provide at least one form of verification that your child has been immunized. You can receive certificates of immunization or provisional certificate of immunization from your primary care provider. If for medical or religious reasons your child cannot be immunized, your doctor can also provide you with a certificate of immunization exemption.

It is a good idea to keep a copy of your child’s immunization records, which can help save them from receiving additional shots because a lack of certainty about which vaccines they have received and when they received them.

Adverse reactions to immunizations are rare and the risk of complications is far less than the risk to a child and the community from not being immunized. In fact, the more people in a community who are immunized against a disease, the less likely it is that an outbreak would occur. Public health specialists call this concept “herd immunity.”

Thanks to immunizations, diseases such as polio, mumps and diphtheria are unusual. But health care professionals say being immunized against potentially dangerous childhood diseases should still be a top priority for families.