Health Q & A

Back to school issues

Back to school issues

August 12, 2002|by Christine L. Moats

It's that time againback to school! Make sure your children are immunized and up to date on required vaccines before they return.

Q: What are the immunization requirements for school-aged children in Maryland?

A: All of the immunizations listed below need to be administered by the time the child goes to school, whether that's at age 5 to kindergarten or later. Exceptions are noted in parentheses.

By kindergarten, age 5

  • 4 doses of DtaP, DTP (Three doses of tetanus and diphtheria containing vaccines, DTP, DtaP, DT, or Td, are required for children 7 years of age or older.)

  • 3 doses polio vaccine

  • 2 doses measles vaccine

  • 1 dose rubella vaccine

  • 1 dose chickenpox vaccine (not required if the child enters the school system after the age of 7)

  • 3 doses Hepatitis B vaccine (not required if the child enters the school system after the age of 7)

Q: How does the school system know my child has had his vaccinations?


A: You will need to provide written proof that your child was immunized including the month, day and year at the time of registration or enrollment.

In most cases, the school will provide the form to record the immunizations and dates, but it is the parents' responsibility to obtain the information from the pediatrician or health clinic.

Exemptions to immunizations will be honored for medical reasons, religious beliefs or strong personal conviction opposing immunizations.

Immunizations are available free of charge. Contact your local Health Department for more information.

If your child was not immunized as an infant, he or she can begin the series at any time.

Q: What do I need to do if my child needs to take medication during school hours?

A: Talk to the school nurse and provide the following information in writing:

  • Name of the drug and dosage

  • Reason for the medication

  • Times medication should be taken

  • Possible side effects

  • Prescribing physician's name and phone number

  • Emergency contact information

Deliver the medication in its original container to the appropriate person.

Make sure your child is aware of the dosage of medication as well.

Instruct your child not to share prescription or over-the-counter medications with other students.

For more information about immunizations, call the National Immunization Hotline 1-800-232-2522 (in Spanish, 1-800-232-0233).


Christine L. Moats is wellness coordinator at Washington County Hospital.

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