The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 24, 2013

Immunizations needed before busy summer months

Raleigh County School Nurse Coordinator Debbie Kaplan urges parents of children heading into pre-k, kindergarten, seventh and 12th grades not to wait until summer to have their immunizations.

Kaplan said physicians are typically very busy during the summer months and to ensure all children have the updates they need and are ready to attend school on the first day, plan your appointment early.

Young children about to enter pre-k or kindergarten for the first time must have current vaccinations for diphtheria, polio, tetanus, and whooping cough, Hepatitis A and B, varicella, and measles, mumps, and rubella. After receiving one dose, the student may attend school and is given a provisional period of eight months to complete the immunizations; however, children are not allowed to attend school in West Virginia until the parent provides proof the child has had at least one series of shots, she said.

According to State Code 16-3-4, all students entering the seventh grade must have one dose of Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis) after age 7, and one Meningococcal (Meningitis) vaccine.

Twelfth-graders also must show proof of a single dose of Tdap, plus a booster dose of MCV4 (meningitis) if the first dose was given before the child’s 16th birthday. If the first dose was given after the 16th birthday, then a booster dose is not required.

There is no exception to this requirement, she explained. Students will not be allowed to enter seventh or 12th grade in the 2013-2014 school term until the documentation is provided to the school, even if he/she attended a West Virginia school in the sixth or 11th grade.

“The immunization schedule can be difficult for parents to understand, which is why an immunization/well child check-up is so important. I encourage parents to take their children to their doctor for their routine yearly check-up to determine if their immunizations are current and meet the school entry requirements. If a child is found missing shots, they can receive them during that visit,” she said.

Area physicians have been provided with the green card for childhood immunization reporting and the orange card for seventh and 12th grade documentation. These cards are to be presented to the school for the child’s permanent record. If the child has already had his or her immunizations, parents can bring in the child’s physician-completed immunization record and the school nurse can complete the green or orange card.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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