Stay Up-to-Date on Immunizations Before Heading Back-to-School
By: Charlotte Caldwell
TRICARE Management Activity
Immunizations are the most effective way to prevent disease and complications from disease, especially among young children. August is Immunization Awareness Month, the perfect time to make sure children have gotten their recommended immunizations before heading back to school.
Most primary schools in the United States require students to have an annual physical and to be up-to-date on any immunizations before starting the school year. Parents should check with their school district to be sure of the requirements for enrollment.
TRICARE covers necessary physical exams that children ages 5-11 need to enroll in school, and age-appropriate immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Immunizations are covered at no cost to beneficiaries if they get them at a TRICARE-authorized provider or participating TRICARE network pharmacy. To find a pharmacy or provider that participates in the vaccine program and to see a list of covered immunizations go to www.tricare.mil/immunizations.
Immunizations aren’t just important for elementary school-aged children; babies and teens should also stay fully vaccinated. CDC recommends all children get immunizations at the advice of their primary care physician, starting at birth. Parents can use the free Instant Childhood Immunization Schedule (www2a.cdc.gov/nip/kidstuff/newscheduler_le/) on the CDC website to see the recommended immunizations for their child up to age 12. Each schedule is customized to their child’s birthday, and provides recommendations and dates relative to their age. CDC’s website also has information for parents about which immunizations are recommended up to age 18, and why. To see a complete list of CDC-recommended immunizations for children from birth until adulthood, and for more information about immunizations go to www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html. A downloadable parent’s guide is also available at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/parents-guide/downloads/parents-guide-508.pdf.
Immunization is an important, easy and effective way to protect children from potentially life threatening diseases. Parents should make sure their children are up-to-date on all their CDC-recommended immunizations to stay safe and healthy. For more information on immunizations or to find a provider go to www.tricare.mil/immunizations.