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DC Department of Health Reminds Parents and Guardians to Schedule Back-to-School Immunizations

Thursday, June 24, 2010
All children are required to have up-to-date vaccinations when in school.

Washington, DC – As the school year officially comes to an end, the DC Department of Health (DOH) is reminding all parents and guardians of children who attend school in the District, to schedule their children’s immunization appointments for the next school year as soon as possible. All public and private school students are required to be up-to-date on all vaccinations prior to the start of the school year. Parents and guardians are encouraged to schedule vaccination appointments with their primary care physician early in advance, to ensure that their children will be ready for the upcoming school year. Parents should also bring their children’s immunization cards with them when taking their child to get vaccinated, as all District students will be required to present documentation of required vaccinations by the first day of school.

“Summer is a busy time for doctors’ offices as most families take the time between school years to update their immunizations and get their annual physical. Parents should make appointments ahead of time and not wait until the last minute to make sure their children are prepared for the upcoming school year,” said Dr. Pierre Vigilance, Director of DOH.

The following are required immunizations for all students:

  • DTP/DTaP/Td
  • Polio
  • MMR
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hib
  • Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine

The following immunizations are required for students in specific grades:

  • 4 years of age or younger - Pneumococcal Vaccine (1-4 age appropriate doses) and Hepatitis A
  • Sixth through twelfth grade - Meningococcal Vaccine, Tdap booster if five years have passed since last dose of DTP/DTaP/Td beginning at age 11,
  • Female students enrolling in sixth grade for the first time - Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV)

Parents that do not wish to have their child receive the HPV vaccine for any reason can opt-out.  Parents should submit a completed HPV Opt-Form, located at, with the rest of their child’s immunization forms.  This form only applies to the HPV vaccine. 
The Department of Health provides free vaccines for healthcare providers that serve Medicaid eligible children and the uninsured. DOH also provides free immunizations for uninsured and under-insured District residents at its express clinic.  For more information about childhood immunizations or for a list of the express immunization clinics, contact the Citywide Call Center by dialing 311.