Vaccinations are vital for students
Change is never easy, especially when it comes to a change that impacts thousands of people. However, sometimes it is more than worth it.
This was the case with the adolescent immunization requirements that started this fall. The new immunization requirements compelled seventh- and 12th-grade students to receive Tdap and meningococcal vaccinations prior to starting school.
While some found the new requirement to be inconvenient, the majority of parents wholly supported this change. In fact, the West Virginia Department of Education announced on Oct. 11 that 99.85 percent of seventh- and 12th-graders were in compliance with the immunization requirements. That’s 39,000 students in West Virginia who are now protected from pertussis (whooping cough) and bacterial meningitis.
This achievement is something that we as a state should be proud of and celebrate.
Additionally, the protection afforded to those who have been vaccinated doesn’t end with those students. The seventh- and 12th-graders who were vaccinated are not only protecting themselves from these diseases, but through their high rate of vaccination, they are also protecting any friends, fellow students and family members who can’t, for medical reasons, be immunized.
We thank all the school personnel, health care providers, public health officials, and especially parents and teens for taking the steps to do what is best for the health of our community of students. And we are proud of our state for protecting our children from dangerous, yet preventable, diseases.
Sissy Price and Judy Koehler
West Virginia Immunization Network