Back to School: Tips on Simultaneous Vaccination and Updates to the School Vaccine Schedule
by David Glassman, RN, MPH
If you have not done so already, it’s time to begin preparing your clinics for back to school immunizations. Check inventories and supplies and order early. Review the Oregon Immunization Program website for up-to-date immunization to help ensure your practice is ready and contact information should you have queries.
There are a few changes to the schedule for the 2013-2014 school year. Immunization with Tdap has been expanded, and applies to students entering grades 7 to 12. Children attending kindergarten through grade 5 will need to have completed the2 dose Hepatitis A series.
Also related to back to school vaccinations is the importance of an internal clinic policy of simultaneous vaccination. This is when more than one immunization is administered during the same clinic visit. Administering DTap in one arm or leg and IPV in another arm or leg during the same visit is an example of simultaneous vaccination. Available data illustrates that “simultaneous vaccination with multiple vaccines has no adverse effect on the normal childhood immune system (CDC).” Both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend simultaneous administration of all routine childhood vaccines when appropriate.
Providing a child with several immunizations during the same visit offers two practical advantages. First, children should be immunized as quickly as possible to confer protection during the vulnerable early months of their lives. Second, giving several immunizations at the same time means fewer clinic visits. This may be less traumatic for the child and save parents both time and money.
When our patients present for immunizations, consider providing all the required vaccine at the same visit with the knowledge that it is safe, practical, and best practice.
School’s out…for the time being.