What Vaccines Might My Child Need Before Starting School?

Paul A. Offit, MD, talks about the vaccine boosters recommended for children before they start school. They include a booster dose of DTaP, MMR, varicella (chickenpox), and polio vaccines.


What vaccines might my child need before starting school?

Paul Offit, MD:  Hi, my name is Paul Offit. I’m talking to you today from the Vaccine Education Center here at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. And when children get to be 4, 5, 6 years of age, I think parents ask the question, “What vaccines does my child need before starting school?”

And there are a few. I mean you need to get another booster of something called the DTaP vaccine: diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis, or whopping cough. You need to get a booster dose of the MMR vaccine, which is measles, mumps and rubella, or German measles. You need to get a booster dose of the varicella, or chickenpox, vaccine. And also need to get a fourth, or booster dose, of the polio vaccine.

Now some of these viruses are commonly transmitted in school. Certainly were commonly transmitted in school. And if we let our guard down, we’ll start to be transmitted in school again. Things like measles, and mumps, and German measles, often chickenpox, that’s when children would get those diseases in schools because that’s when everybody gets together and starts to share their viruses.

So, it again gives your child protection as they now intermingle with a lot of other children in a fairly closed space. And that’s why it’s important to get them.

Related Centers and Programs: Vaccine Education Center

Last Reviewed on Apr 23, 2015