PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) — You may be deep into summer vacation mode, but pediatricians say now is the time to make sure your kids are up to date on their immunizations and checkups.
“You need to get in now!” CHKD Medical Group Director, Dr. Douglas Mitchell told WAVY.
Doctors offices are busy and appointments are filling up fast for back-to-school check-ups and shots. Annual well checks are recommended for all children to make sure they’re up to date with vaccines, on track with growth and development and to screen for depression.
“It is such a big issue today that we have to watch for those children who are struggling and sometimes the parents are the last ones to be aware and it comes up in the routine screening that we do,” Dr. Mitchell said.
If your kids are going to play a sport, they’ll need a sports physical. Here’s the catch– it has to be signed by a doctor after May 1 for the next school year.
Many doctor’s offices will sign off on it if you had the exam earlier this year, so make sure to ask your pediatrician. This could help you to avoid an extra co-pay at urgent care or a visit to a sports physical clinics at school.
As for immunizations if you’ve been getting your child shots on schedule they should be fine to enter kindergarten.
Virginia also requires boosters for students entering 7th and 12th grade and some colleges are now requiring an additional meningitis series.
“The ads are on tv right now where you see the young people that have had amputations,” Mitchell said. That’s due to serious complications from meningitis that infects the brain. Students living in dorms or congregate housing are at greater risk due to the close living quarters.
Some colleges are also requiring COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. Dr. Mitchell recommends all children over 6 months get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
His advice today is,”Don’t wait until that last week before school starts because pediatricians’ offices – the doctors offices are overwhelmed.”
You can also get vaccines at your local Health Department. Many have already started back-to-school shot clinics.
To see what shots your child needs, visit the Virginia Vaccination Schedule.