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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q.  How do I locate my immunization record?
A.  Contact your last immunization provider.  Depending on how long ago you received your immunizations, DHEC may have your record if you obtained your immunizations through one of our health departments.  However, if you received your immunizations through a non-DHEC health care provider, we most likely will not have your record.  The South Carolina Immunization Registry became law in 2014 and requires South Carolina health care providers administering immunizations to report to the state registry.  If you or your child received vaccines prior to 2014, they may not be recorded in the state registry.   You can try to obtain your immunization record through the last school you attended or the office of the health care provider who administered the vaccines.  A health care provider can also sometimes do blood tests to see if you are immune to certain vaccine-preventable diseases.  Some additional information and tips on locating your immunization records are available from CDC. 

Q. How can I schedule an appointment to get a vaccination?
A.  You can schedule an appointment to get a vaccination at your local health department by calling our toll free appointment line at 800-868-0404.

Q.  Is there a cost for my child to get vaccinated at a health department?
A.  If your child is uninsured or has Medicaid and is 18 years of age or younger, he or she is eligible for no cost vaccines under the federal Vaccines for Children Program.  If your child is insured and your insurance does not cover the vaccination or your insurance deductible has not been met and you cannot afford to pay, your child may be eligible for no cost vaccines under our State Vaccine program.  Contact your county health department at the telephone number located at Public Health Clinics.

Q.  What vaccinations are needed for my child to attend school?
A.  Required vaccinations may vary from year to year.  To get the most up to date required vaccinations for the current school year refer to vaccines needed for school admission.

Q.  Are there immunization exemptions in South Carolina?  If so, how do I obtain one?
A.  Medical and religious exemptions are the only immunization exemptions in South Carolina.  A medical exemption can only be obtained through a licensed individual or his/her representative that practices medicine, surgery, or osteopathy. A religious exemption can be obtained through your local county health department.  Refer to exemptions from school vaccine requirements.

Q.  How can I obtain a South Carolina Certificate of Immunization for my child to attend school/day care?
A.  The SC Certificate of Immunization can be obtained from your local health department, most health care providers, and some school nurses.  You will need to provide your child's current immunization record for the certificate to be completed. Contact your local county health department for more information.

Q.  I have moved from another state and am waiting on my child's immunization record.  Can he/she still attend school?  
A.  All South Carolina day cares and schools require a South Carolina Certificate of Immunization to   
attend school.  However, the school principal or his/her authorized representative can issue a Special Exemption form for transfer students that is valid for thirty (30) days.  More information can be found regarding special exemptions at the exemption from school vaccine requirements.

Q.  My child's school is requiring a Tdap vaccination before going to 7th grade.  Where can I get the vaccination and is there a cost?
A.  You can obtain the recommended adolescent vaccines, including Tdap, from your child's health care provider.  Some school districts offer the vaccine in school Tdap clinics.  More information can be found by visiting our School Tdap Clinic webpage.  Adolescent vaccines, including Tdap, can also be obtained at your local health department.  To schedule an appointment, call the appointment line at 800-868-0404.  The cost will vary depending on your insurance coverage. 

Q.  What is the Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV4) and should my child get one before attending college?
A.  The MCV4 vaccine protects against several types of the bacteria that causes meningitis, an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.  It is recommended for your child to receive the MCV4 vaccination at age 11 or 12 years, and a booster dose at age 16.  If your child receives the first dose at age 13 through 15 years of age, a one-time booster dose is recommended, preferably at age 16 through 18 years.  Older teens who have not received the vaccination should get one as soon as possible.  See more information on meningococcal vaccine from CDC

Q.  I've been hearing a lot about the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV).  Is it really necessary for my preteen to get it and how effective is it?
A.  The HPV vaccine is an anti-cancer vaccine.  It helps protect both girls and boys from certain types of cancer caused by HPV infection.  It is a 3-shot series given over a 6-month period.  It is recommended for all children to receive their first dose of HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12 years old.  However, if your child is older consult your doctor about getting the series of shots now. See more information on HPV from CDC

Q.  Am I eligible for no cost vaccinations if I am older than 18 years of age?
A.  If you are uninsured or your health insurance does not pay for vaccines you may be eligible for no cost vaccines under our state Adult Vaccine program.  Please do not let cost prevent you from receiving your vaccinations.  Selected vaccines are available in health departments. Contact your local county health department for more information.

Q.  Where can I get a flu shot?
A.  The flu vaccination is recommended every year.  You can find a listing of DHEC-sponsored Seasonal Flu Clinics on our webpage.  You can also obtain a flu shot at many other locations such as your health care provider or local pharmacy.  Also, many school districts offer school located clinics for your child(ren). 

Q.  Where can I obtain a Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Vaccine?
A.  Unfortunately DHEC does not provide the Shingles Vaccine at this time.  Contact your health care 
provider or local pharmacy to see if they can provide the vaccine for you. 

Q.  I am traveling out of the country.  What vaccinations will I need?
A.  A list of required vaccinations for various countries is listed on the CDC website under Traveler's Health.

Q.  Where can I obtain international travel vaccinations?
A.  DHEC does not provide international travel vaccinations.  CDC has a yellow fever provider registry listing by state.  Yellow fever vaccine providers typically also have other international travel vaccines.

For more information, contact us at (803) 898-0460, toll-free at (800) 277-4687, or at immunize@dhec.sc.gov.