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New immunization law impacts Arkansas students

The Arkansas Department of Health updated and clarified its immunization requirements for children in grades kindergarten through grade 12. These new regulations are effective immediately and all students entering public school this fall must comply. Parents are urged to make appointments with their physicians or with their local Department of Health as soon as possible. There could be delays in getting appointments due to the new regulations.

Children are required by law to have certain immunizations in order to attend public school
Children are required by law to have certain immunizations in order to attend public school
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Required immunizations

  • Four dose of DTP/DT/Td/DTaP/Tdap; one dose must be on or after the fourth birthday.
  • Three doses of Polio vaccine; one dose must be on or after the fourth birthday.
  • Two doses of MMR; the first dose must be on or after first birthday.
  • Three doses of Hepatitis B vaccine.
  • Two doses of Varicella (chicken pox) with first dose on or after first birthday. If child has had a documented case of chicken pox, a physician’s note is required.
  • Kindergarten and first grade students are required to have one dose of Hepatitis A.
  • As of Sept. 1 of each year, all students who are at least 11 years old are required to have a Tdap vaccination.
  • All seventh graders are required to have one dose of MCV4 (Meningococcal) vaccine. A second dose is required at age 16.

Immunize your child

State law requires your child to be current on immunizations if you are planning to enroll them in public school, or if your college-bound student is attending a public college in Arkansas. To check your child’s immunization status, contact your physician or the local Department of Health. The law allows for a 30-day grace period from the time you enroll your child in school as long as you can prove that you are in-process of obtaining the required immunizations. If your child is starting school in August, you have until September to comply with the law.

The law allows exemptions from immunization under very specific circumstances. Exemptions include religious reasons or a serology report showing the child has already had the immunization or disease. Contact your local Department of Health for details.