More doses of some vaccines required for schoolSome new vaccine requirements for school children have recently taken affect. An area health official said more vaccines are required now than in prior years due to advances in disease knowledge as well as how well the vaccines work over time.
Some new vaccine requirements for school children have recently taken affect. An area health official said more vaccines are required now than in prior years due to advances in disease knowledge as well as how well the vaccines work over time.
Tdap, or tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis and the meningococcal vaccine must be administered to children entering the seventh grade, a requirement set in the last school year, according to information from the Southwestern District Health Unit in Dickinson.
Over the last seven years, the hepatitis B shot series, a second chicken pox shot and an MMR — measles, mumps and rubella — shot have been added to the requirements to enter school, said Janet Kuhn, SWDHU registered nurse.
“There have been more advances in knowledge of these vaccines and how to protect against these diseases,” Kuhn said. “Why they’re finding we need two MMR’s or two chicken pox (shots), why that’s increased is that additional doses may have been required for certain vaccines.
“It has to do with outbreaks or breakthrough disease, meaning time has shown us one MMR and one chicken pox weren’t quite effective enough.”
For the 2010-2011 school year, two doses of varicella vaccine, or chicken pox, are required for kindergarten through second grade. If a child has had history of chicken pox disease, the child is exempt from the vaccine requirement, according to the North Dakota Department of Health Web site.
Kuhn said parents or guardians are given a schedule for their child’s shots at birth.
Before attending kindergarten, students are required to have three doses of the hepatitis B shot, two doses of MMR and four doses of IPV — inactivated polio vaccine — among others, according to the NDDH.
Dickinson resident Tammy Martin, whose son attends Berg Elementary, said she is undecided on whether or not she’ll permit her son to receive both vaccines, adding some members of her family have had reactions to the pertussis vaccine.
“I think I’d prefer to take him to our health care provider,” Martin said.
Kuhn said the unit will be at Berg on April 22 to administer the Tdap and meningococcal vaccine needed for children entering seventh grade.
Those parents who don’t wish to have their children vaccinated must sign a waiver.
Children can be exempt from vaccination if the vaccine would endanger the health the child, the parent or guardian has a philosophical, moral or religious belief that is opposed to such immunization, or the child has a history of disease exemption, such as the child has already had the chicken pox, according to the NDDH
“A letter goes out, and we cannot give vaccinations without parental consent,” Kuhn said.