Experts say the time is now to get students vaccinated before start of school

The timeline is dwindling down for middle and high school students to be fully vaccinated before the start of school. That’s why doctors are urging parents to put vaccines at the top of their back-to-school to-do list.

"Last year during the pandemic, there certainly was some hesitation to come into the clinics and probably less of a need to complete those vaccines on a timely schedule simply because [students] weren’t always in person," Dr. Gigi Chawla, chief of general pediatrics for Children’s Minnesota, tells FOX 9.

State data shows more than 60 percent of people 12 and older have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  And with most schools starting right after Labor Day, Dr. Chawla says parents are cutting close to the deadline of ensuring children are fully vaccinated before in-person classes resume. 

"It’s a 21-day cycle between the two vaccines plus you need two weeks after the completion of the second vaccine to be able to say you’re fully protected," she adds.

That means the deadline for the COVID-19 vaccine is the end of July for schools that start in early September. However, doctors say don’t forget about the other important vaccinations.

"There might be some catch-up that’s needed for vaccinations," says Dr. Chawla. "Influenza vaccines will be important to also accomplish this year."

During a recent town hall with CNN,  President Joe Biden says he anticipates that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could soon approve a vaccine for children under the age of 12 late this year.