The end of summer is fast approaching, and with fall comes the start of classes and sometimes a new chapter of life, especially for incoming kindergarteners and 7th graders.
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For all students and specifically those going into kindergarten and 7th grade, it is important that they have up to date vaccinations.
Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, is encouraging parents not to wait until the fall to vaccinate their children.
“Immunizations are a safe and effective way to help our kids stay healthy in school and protect them from vaccine-preventable illnesses that can be very serious and have lifelong consequences,” Chapman said. “As families make plans for heading back to school, those plans should include making sure their children are up-to-date on required immunizations for school, including an adolescent whooping cough booster shot for incoming 7th graders.”
Schools are required to verify each child’s immunization record to ensure all shots and boosters are completed before entry to kindergarten and 7th grade. Kindergartners need to have had the following vaccinations:
- Five DTap (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)
- Four polio
- Three hepatitis B
- Two MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
- One varicella (chickenpox)
Kindergarten boosters for DTaP, polio and MMR are given when the child is 4 or 5 years old. Since 1962, California has required certain vaccinations for incoming kindergarteners.
In 2012-2013, nearly 90 percent, or almost 500,000 California kindergarten entrants, were fully immunized. The remainder was typically behind on only one or a few required vaccines. In addition, since a new California law was signed in 2010, students entering 7th grade will need to show proof of the whooping cough booster before starting school.
Chapman said that parents should make an appointment with their provider now to protect themselves and their families and to ensure kids start school on time.
If a child does not have health insurance or is only partially insured, a doctor or local health department can provide information about the Vaccines for Children Program, which provides free or low-cost immunizations.
Some local health departments are offering expanded immunization clinics during the month of August, National Immunization Awareness Month. To learn more about immunizations required for school entry, click here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News