Back-to-School Vaccines 101

It’s back-to-school time, and although you might already have paper and pencils, put immunizations on your shopping list to make sure your kids are protected as they head to class.

Vaccinations protect your children from certain deadly diseases, prevent outbreaks, and promote healthy classrooms.

Children are due for a series of immunizations between the ages of 4 and 6, and again between the ages of 11 and 12, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some vaccines due at these ages are also required by the Washington State Department of Health prior to the first day of kindergarten and sixth grade.

Vaccinations are important for both the health of your kids and the health of our community. Unvaccinated kids are more likely to catch and spread serious illnesses such as whooping cough (also called pertussis) and measles, which can both be prevented by vaccines.

Vaccine requirements sometimes change, so it’s important to keep up to date: visit and for more information.

What vaccinations does my child need for school?

By the time your child enters kindergarten, required vaccinations will include:

  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Polio
  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chickenpox/varicella
  • A yearly flu shot*

The average 11- to 12-year-old should receive these immunizations before school:

  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV, done in three doses)
  • Meningitis (MCV4)
  • A yearly flu shot*
  • Any missing shots from the list above or not received as babies, such as Hepatitis A vaccine

*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

Where can I find my child’s vaccine records?

Contact your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic. If you can’t get a complete immunization history from your provider, you can most likely get records from the Washington State Immunization Information System; contact the Office of Immunizations and Child Profile at 360-236-3595 or 1-866-397-0337. Always keep shot records in case your child moves, gets a job, or goes elsewhere for school. You’ll need it when you least expect it.

Where do I get my child vaccinated?

MultiCare Immunization Clinic at South Hill Mall
3500 S. Meridian, Puyallup

Mobile Immunization Clinic
Locations in Tacoma and Puyallup 


MultiCare Health System is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 18,000 employees, providers, and volunteers.

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