MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has updated its vaccine requirements for the 2022-2023 school year. 

Second graders need to have completed their Hepatitis A series by the first day of school. Eighth graders need to be up to date on the polio vaccine series, and tenth graders should be up to date on the chickenpox vaccine. 

Doctors said that these vaccines should not be anything new. DHEC is simply making sure that students are getting protected earlier. 

Dr. Lucretia Carter, Pediatric Medical Director at Tidelands Health, said there should not be anything to worry about. 

“[The guidelines] are nothing different than the actual vaccine schedule that we’ve already been implementing and had in place for many years,” Carter said. “What they did was just make their wording more specific on some of the vaccines that weren’t spelled out in the previous guidelines.”

Carter said that vaccines are a small but important part of getting students ready for back to school season. She said that the basics like hand-washing and staying home when not well are important. 

“So basically optimizing your child’s health, whether we’re talking about vaccines or if they have asthma or allergies, making sure your child is in the best health that they can be in,” Carter said. “A healthy child is a happy learning child.”

Carter said that vaccines are not only protecting students, but the people they interact with. 

“We are protecting not only the teachers, but the other students. So making sure that all students are current on their vaccinations helps to protect everyone,” Carter said. “Whether it’s the child sitting next to them or the teacher who’s providing their courses.”

She also reminds parents and guardians of students that a yearly check up is a good way to monitor health. 

“If your child is not feeling their greatest, they’re not going to perform their greatest when they’re in the school setting,” Carter said. “So making sure not only are there vaccines up to date, but is their yearly physical up to date as well?”

Carter said that she understands that some questions regarding health can be confusing. Her biggest piece of advice for parents is to create open conversations with their child’s primary care physician.