You’ve packed your child’s lunch with fruit and other healthful snacks. When he gets in the car, you make sure he’s secure in his child seat or seatbelt. And you’ve taught him to wash his hands before every meal. You’re doing all you can to protect him and teach him to lead a healthy life.

But as he heads to school, is he up-to-date on all his immunizations?

Effective 2014, all Maryland children entering kindergarten are required to have a second chickenpox (varicella) dose. And, all students entering seventh grade are required to have one dose of Tdap vaccine and one dose of Meningococcal vaccine. These vaccines are new school immunization requirements aimed to make sure your child is healthy and ready to learn. ​

To be admitted to school, students must be immunized according to Maryland School Immunization Regulations (COMAR 10.06.04). You should work with your child’s doctor to review his or her immunization record and receive any vaccinations that are missing. If you are unable to get an immunization appointment with your child’s health care provider, call your local health department. If you have questions about immunizations that are required for school, please call your child’s doctor or the school nurse.

School children are in close contact with one another, increasing the likelihood of transmission of certain bacteria and viruses. “There’s no need for children to be at risk, when we adults can take steps to help them remain healthy,” said Dr. Cheryl De Pinto, medical director for Maryland’s Office of School Health here at the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. “Immunizations are a crucial tool to diminish transmission of these diseases, whether in schools or in the broader community.”

It’s critical to make sure your little ones are current on their vaccinations. Failure to get them immunized may put your child and your child’s classmates at risk for developing a preventable, sometimes fatal disease. In the long run, the mild discomfort from the shot is worth the protection from disease. A child has up to 20 days from the start of school to show proof he or she has received all the required vaccinations or that he or she has started a plan to get the missing immunizations. A child who hasn’t done either will be excluded from school

For information about immunizations, visit the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at or download the handy requirements document at​.