June 18, 2010
Marshall County health officials are reminding parents of school immunization requirements for the 2010-2011 school year, which include some additional vaccinations. Parents should ensure their children are up-to-date before the start of the next school year.
“The diseases targeted by the updated schedule can and do cause severe consequences, including death,” said Marshall County Health Officer, Dr. Byron Holm. “They are still present in the community and circulating in our schools.”
State health officials report during the first six months of the year there have been six confirmed outbreaks of chickenpox at schools in Indiana. In addition, there has been an increase in pertussis (whooping cough) activity in the state. Of the 391 reported cases in 2009, 174 were among school-aged children (ages 5-19).
In addition to the previously required immunizations, students entering grades 6th through 12th must have appropriate documentation of the following vaccinations: Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, accellular pertussis) vaccine, MCV4-(Menactra or Menveo), (meningococcal conjugate) vaccine, and two varicella (chickenpox) vaccinations appropriately spaced per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Children entering preschool or kindergarten at an accredited K-12 school (not daycare centers) must now have two appropriately documented varicella (chickenpox) vaccines, separated by at least three months.
According to a 2008 National Immunization Survey, only 53.6 percent of adolescents aged 13-17 had received the recommended doses of Td (tetanus toxoid-diphtheria) or Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, accellular pertussis) vaccine, and only 31.8 percent had received the recommend doses of the MCV4-(meningococcal conjugate) vaccine for bacterial meningitis.
“The purpose of the new vaccine campaign is to keep children in school and healthy,” Dr. Holm said. “Having children up-to-date on their vaccines not only protects the child but also protects everyone else in the school. That is why it is so vital for every child to be up-to-date on their vaccinations.”
Due to funds from the recent increase in the tobacco tax, the Indiana Immunization Program is able to ensure all required immunizations are available to every child in Indiana, even those without health insurance.
Parents can find out all the immunizations their children need for school, based on age, by visiting the Indiana State Department of Health’s Website at: www.statehealth.in.gov/17094.htm or calling the Marshall County Health Department at 574-935- 8565, the Indiana State Department of health can also be called at 1-800-701-0704.