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Immunizations required for start of school; a new one for college students

Make sure your child has required immunizations before school starts.
Make sure your child has required immunizations before school starts.
Photo by Sandor Kasco/Photo Xpress

Moms have much more than new shoes and school supplies to worry about before sending their kids off to school in a few weeks. They also must ensure their children have the state required immunizations.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, this is what is required for any student entering kindergarten through 12th grade:

  • Three-five doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP/DTP/DT/Td)
  • Three-four doses of polio
  • Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • Three doses of hepatitis B
  • One-two doses of varicella
  • One booster dose of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) 10 years after the last dose of tetanus-diphtheria-containing vaccine

There are also additional requirements for students entering kindergarten, 1st grade, 7th grade and 8th grade:

  • Two doses of hepatitis A for students entering kindergarten-1st grade
  • Two doses of varicella for students entering kindergarten-1st grade and 7th-8th grade
  • One booster dose of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) or students entering 7th grade, if at least five years have passed since the last dose of tetanus-diphtheria-containing vaccine
  • One dose of meningococcal for students entering 7th-8th grade

These requirements include vaccination requirements added last year. Durilla said the TDap for students entering the 7th grade and the hepatitis A shot for kindergartners was added for the 2009-10 school year.

The department of state health services points out in its annual letter to parents that parents should talk to their child’s doctor or local health department to determine how many doses the child needs for the upcoming school year.

Kay Durilla, nursing program manager for the Taylor County Public Health District, says each school has its own policy when it comes to when students have to have their required immunizations. “But they have the right to tell them not to come to school,” Durilla pointed out.

Abilene ISD usually gives their students until Oct. 1 to get their vaccinations. Sweetwater ISD requires students have their shots within 30 days of the first day of class. The first day of classes for most area schools is Aug. 23.

There is a big rush in August for parents to get their children their shots. “You may have to wait a bit now, but we do provide a walk-in clinic for immunizations,” stated Durilla.

School immunizations are given at the Abilene health department on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.
The health district is located at 850 North 6th Street. The cost per vaccination varies, so contact the health district at 325-692-5600 for more information.

The Sweetwater Nolan County Health Department holds their immunization clinic on Wednesdays only. The hours are from 8-11:30 a.m. and from 1-4:30 p.m. On the second Wednesday of each month they are open until 6 p.m.

Your family physician may also provide the required vaccinations, but Durilla says if your physician doesn’t have what you need on hand, then the health district will.

If you need help paying for your child’s immunizations, check with your local health department or call 2-1-1 Texas. You can also call 800-252-9152 for additional information about immunization requirements or allowed reasons for exemptions or log onto the state department of health services website www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize.

In addition, all first-time college students or transfer students will be required to receive a vaccination for bacterial meningitis or meningococcal disease in order to live in the dorm or other on-campus housing facilities. This is the newest state immunization requirement of students. This vaccination must be received 10 days before moving in.
 

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