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Which Shots Do You Need to Work in Childcare?

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Child care workers who work as babysitters, in day care centers or after-school programs will need a variety of vaccinations before starting work. These are to prevent illnesses in both the child care worker and the children. Many viruses are passed around in groups of children at schools and day cares, and it is best to be prepared with vaccinations.


Adults who have not had the Varicella -- chickenpox -- vaccination will need to get it prior to working in child care. Chickenpox is a widespread illness among children, and while it is relatively simple to care for a child with chickenpox, it can be extremely dangerous for adults. Most adults who have not had this vaccine can get it, with the exception of a person unable to fight serious infections, such as people undergoing cancer treatments, pregnant women, those who have received blood transfusions in the last 12 months, or currently have a moderate or serious illness.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella

The vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella is a three-in-one shot called MMR, which may be given to adults who wish to work in child care and did not receive this vaccination as a child. For adults who also have not had chickenpox, there is a vaccination for all four conditions called MMRV.

Tetanus and Diphtheria

A vaccine known as Td is given to adults who have not received a shot for tetanus and diphtheria. This vaccination is often given to child care workers who have not previously received it. Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a painful condition that locks the person's jaw, making it impossible to swallow. Diphtheria is a thick coating of the throat, causing breathing and swallowing problems.


The influenza vaccine, also known as the "flu shot," is now given to people six months and older each year at the start of the flu season. Child care workers who have not received the vaccination prior to starting work will need to get this shot and continue receiving it each year before the flu season hits.


Hepatitis B, or HPV, is a serious disease affecting the liver, and can cause a lifelong disease. Child care workers who have not previously had the Hepatitis B vaccination are advised to get it prior to starting work with children. A vaccination for Hepatitis A is also available, but is typically only given if any children at the day care center currently have Hepatitis A, as it is a more rare disease.

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