Parents Reminded Of School Immunization Requirements

State 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.
“Diseases like chickenpox, meningitis, and pertussis are not diseases of the past,” said Joan Duwve, M.D., medical director for Immunizations at the Indiana State Department of Health. “They are still with us and circulating in Indiana schools.”
Dr. Duwve reports during the previous six months 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.
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 1-800-701-0704.
“Our goal is to keep children healthy and in school,” said Dr. Duwve. “Good health doesn’t happen by itself. Ensuring your child is up-to-date on all required vaccinations protects not only your child, but also teachers, school staff, and other children in your community.”
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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released an updated National Immunization Survey, which showed Indiana now ranks 6th in the nation for childhood immunizations (for children aged 19-35 months).
“The addition of state funding for vaccine to the immunization program in 2007 has been invaluable,” said Dr. Duwve. “It has allowed us to eliminate some of the barriers to vaccination in Indiana and protect more of our children. However, there is still more work to do, especially in vaccinating adolescents.”
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.