With the start of a new school year a few weeks away, the New Jersey Health Department is reminding everyone August is Immunization Awareness month.

New Jersey state epidemiologist Tina Tan said child immunization is important for everyone’s health.

“Kids, by getting vaccinated, not only protect themselves but they also protect those who love them and take care of them and the community around them," she said.

In the community setting, “you have children interacting with older individuals and people with weakened immune systems.”

“There are many vaccine preventable diseases that can be easily transmitted from person to person in settings such as schools, so now is the time to remind everybody to get those vaccines before they go back," Tan said.

Children in New Jersey are required to have certain vaccines, depending on the grade they are entering, unless they have a religious exemption.

Kindergarten-5th grade

  • 4-5 doses of diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP)
  • 2 doses of measles, mumps and rubella
  • Chickenpox
  • 3 doses of hepatitis B

6th grade and higher

  • Tdap (a booster for DTaP) and meningococcal vaccines required for all students entering 6th graders who are 11 years or older or once they reach age 11.

Part of the message of Immunization Awareness Month is that vaccines aren’t just for kids.

“Immunization is just something that you do across the life span," Tan said.

“We’re in a very fortunate situation these days because there’s so many more vaccines that are available for adults.”

“We always encourage people to go to their healthcare provider if they have any questions about their immunization status because everybody might have a unique situation. Get a consultation on what are the vaccines that you might need.”

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