The Tennessee Department of Health has begun to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12 to 15. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines continue to be available to individuals age 18 and older. Those seeking vaccination can visit VaccineFinder.org to find a list of locations and the vaccine brands they provide.
While the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandated, there are immunizations needed to start preschool, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and seventh grade. Children in Tennessee must have certain required vaccines. Also, any new student starting school in Tennessee for the first time will need an official Tennessee Certificate of Immunization to provide to the school or childcare provider.
When and where do I get the certificate?
If you preregister for fall classes before you get the new certificate, you should bring in the new certificate before classes start. Parents and guardians must get the certificate from their primary care provider, another licensed healthcare provider in Tennessee or a local health department.
Be sure to keep copies of immunization records in a safe place. The Tennessee Immunization Information System or TennIIS can create a permanent, lifelong record for any Tennessee resident whose healthcare provider uses TWIS. Your healthcare provider can also print a complete immunization certificate from TWIS.
All health departments and most immunization providers use TennIIS. Ask your primary care provider to make sure your child’s records are in TennIIS. Locating lost records later can be extremely difficult, so if your child’s records are not complete in TWIS, you’ll need to keep these records along with a care notebook of your child’s medical history.
What if I can’t afford the vaccines?
Children and teens younger than age 19 who have TennCare or don’t have health insurance can receive free vaccines through the federal Vaccines for Children Program. Ask your child’s healthcare provider if they participate in VFC. If your child’s insurance doesn’t pay for vaccines and you can’t afford them, local health departments can provide the vaccines. See if your child is eligible.
Health departments and VFC providers charge a small administrative fee to give the free vaccine, but no child is turned away because they are unable to pay.
See the complete list of immunizations your child will need for school.
Watch this video to learn more about Immunizations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: