Back-to-School Immunizations - It's the Rule

July 21, 2017

Huron, S.D. – Back-to-school season is here. It’s time for parents to gather school supplies and backpacks. It’s also the perfect time to make sure your children are up to date on their vaccines. Last year, new vaccine requirements were implemented for students entering sixth grade, reminds Pediatrician Dr. Jesse Van Heukelom.

“We want to remind parents that the state’s school entry requirements now include meningococcal and Tdap vaccines for kids entering sixth grade,” said Dr. Van Heukelom. “Meningococcal vaccine helps protect against meningitis while Tdap helps prevent tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.”

Vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases such as meningitis, septicemia and cancers caused by HPV. Unvaccinated children are at increased risk for these diseases and can also spread them to others – including babies too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems from cancer or other conditions.

“Getting your children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things you can do to protect their health,” said Dr. Van Heukelom. “These new guidelines not only protect your children, but other people in the community.”

Back-to-school is also a good time to schedule your child’s annual physical. These check-ups are often the only visit health school-age kids and teenagers have with their pediatrician every year. The annual physical gives the pediatrician a chance to give the child a thorough physical exam and address any emotional, developmental, or social concerns. It is also a good chance to address important questions, especially with teenagers, including adolescent issues of drinking, smoking, drugs, sexual activity, and depression.

All childhood immunizations are available from birth through age 18 are available at the HRMC Physicians Clinic.  Parents who aren’t sure if their child has received a recommended vaccine are invited to call the clinic at 605-353-7660.

Information about recommended immunizations is available online at: or   

Dr. Jesse Van Heukelom,
board-certified pediatrician