KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Vaccines are always an important part of back-to-school time. This year whether your kids are going back to school in person or online doctors urge parents to make sure their children are up to date on vaccinations.

Dr. Katy Stordahl from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital came by WATE 6 On Your Side to talk about the vaccines children need before returning to class.

Vaccines are always important, but why is this year so critical?

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the COVID-19 pandemic was resulting in fewer pediatric vaccines being administered.

There is no vaccine for COVID-19, so we expect it to be circulating for a while and we don’t want to introduce any other illness into the community at the same time. It’s important to use all the tools we have to protect our children and ourselves.

Common vaccines include: 

  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella
  • hepatitis A & B
  • Rotavirus
  • DTap
  • Influenza

What about HPV vaccine for older children? 

It is now recommended for both boys and girls around 11 years of age to prevent different types of cancer. It is a 2 to 3 dose series depending on age at time of first vaccination.

4 important reasons to vaccinate your child

  • Immunizations can save your child’s life.
  • Vaccination is very safe and effective.
  • Immunization protects others you care about.
  • It’s the law in Tennessee. (Any child attending child care, preschool, school or college must get routine vaccinations.)

What about parents who are still concerned over the safety of vaccines? 

Pediatricians should listen to all concerns and answer all questions a parent may have about side effects of vaccines. We understand there is a lot of misinformation about vaccines. That’s why it’s important for parents to turn to a reliable and trusted source, their child’s pediatrician, for information.

Is there anyone who should not get vaccines?

Parents of children with a compromised immune system should check with their doctor.