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State Health Officials Reminding Parents Of Vaccine Requirements For School

Raymond Bryson

As the school year begins for some students this week, doctors and schools want to remind parents that the state‘s immunization requirements have changed slightly.

Two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine are now required for all incoming kindergarten students before they can attend school, and those two doses must be at least six months apart.

"It‘s kind of a national trend, and what we found is that when we required two doses for children, you virtually eliminate Hepatitis A in adults," said Melissa McMasters, coordinator of the immunization program for the Marion County Public Health Department.   

Students entering sixth grade must now have a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis/whooping cough) vaccine, a meningitis vaccine and two shots for chicken pox before the first day of school. And a new requirement for incoming high school seniors is a second immunization for meningitis.

"It‘s to get that final boost before college age, where you‘d be living in a dormitory. That type of environment increases the risk for meningitis," McMasters said.

She says most children will have received these vaccines if they are getting regular checkups with their pediatrician.

A list of the immunization requirements and any clinics that may be held can be obtained from any county health department.