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Why it's important to keep child immunizations current

To say the least, this year has been filled with uncertainty for everyone. For parents, the COVID-19 pandemic has created extra concerns. From educating children about appropriate hand hygiene and social distancing to making decisions about school, there are many things to consider. But, through all the uncertainty, parents should make sure their children do not miss important vaccinations, including those required for school.

“One of the most important things parents can do to protect the overall health of their children is to ensure that they receive their age-appropriate vaccinations,” said Ashley Hancock, CPNP-PC, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner with Lewis Health Center in Hohenwald.

Immunizations are required in Tennessee for children who are enrolled in child care, pre-school and school. In addition to vaccinations for infants and young children, those who are starting kindergarten or middle school must have vaccinations up-to-date.

Vaccinations for children include those to guard against hepatitis A and B, chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella in addition to many other communicable diseases. Students entering seventh grade require boosters and/or second doses of certain vaccines. Students who are entering college in Tennessee may also need to obtain additional vaccinations, including vaccination against meningococcal disease – a serious and potentially deadly disease. Other vaccines may be recommended by your child’s health care provider.

It is vital to seek preventative care to help children stay healthy, during normal times as well as during the pandemic.

“Concerns about COVID-19 should not deter parents from seeking wellness care for their children, including any vaccinations that may be due,” said Hancock. “Your child’s health care provider is prepared to deliver preventative care during this time while following strict safety protocols.”

To determine what vaccines are recommended for your child’s age, ask your child’s health care provider during their annual wellness visit, contact the provider’s office or visit the Tennessee Department of Health at

Most insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines. In addition, the Vaccines for Children program provides vaccines to children who are uninsured, underinsured and those who meet other guidelines. Learn more about the program at or contact Lewis Health Center at 931.796.4901.


Ashley Hancock, CPNP-PC
is a nurse practitioner who specializes in pediatric care. She sees patients at Lewis Health Center in Hohenwald and Lewisburg Pediatrics in Lewisburg.