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FAQs on High School Vaccine Requirements

Last updated May 13, 2021

On May 10, 2021, the FDA authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents aged 12-15 (the vaccine has been approved for youth ages 16 and over since December 2020). As more people become eligible for the vaccine, you may be wondering if you need to get it, if it’s safe, and if you’ll need it to attend in-person school this fall. Here are 5 important things you need to know about vaccine requirements for Fall 2021.

Where can I get the vaccine?

As the vaccine becomes widely available in the U.S., you’ll most likely get your vaccine at your doctor’s office or a pharmacy in your area. Some states don’t require appointments anymore- you may be able to walk in and receive your shot the day of. If you have trouble finding a vaccine site near you, check out your county’s vaccine COVID-19 response page online.

Do I have to get a vaccine to start school this fall?

It depends on your school’s vaccine requirements. Some schools won’t require students to have the vaccine until it’s 100% FDA and CDC approved - right now it’s only authorized for emergency use. Check your school’s website to learn more information about whether or not you’ll need to be vaccinated by the time you start classes this fall.

How do I prove I’ve gotten the vaccine?

After your first dose, you’ll receive a proof of vaccination card that details which vaccine you got, where you got it, and when you’ll get your second dose. You’ll need to bring your proof of vaccination card with you to your second dose about three weeks later. If your high school is requiring you to be vaccinated before you start school this fall, you’ll need to save your proof of vaccination card to send a copy to them. You should also share your proof of vaccination with your pediatrician so that it can be recorded in your larger immunization record. Check in with your high school about their vaccine requirements by heading to their website or asking your school nurse.

Does my parent or guardian have to come with me to my appointment?

In most cases if you are under 18, yes. If they cannot accompany you, your parent or guardian will need to sign a consent form for you to give to the person giving you the shot, which states that they are allowing you to get the vaccine. The consent form should be available on the website you used to book the appointment.

What if I don’t want to or cannot get the vaccine?

Talk to your school nurse and your pediatrician to understand the implications of not getting the vaccine. 

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