All children must be up to date with immunizations to enter school this fall.
In Pennsylvania, a child must have the required medically-appropriate vaccines or a plan to complete those vaccines within five days of attending school or risk exclusion from school.
“Vaccines are a safe and effective way to protect yourself from a number of serious, life-threatening diseases. Getting your vaccinations can help protect those around you, such as those with compromised immune systems or are too young to get vaccinated,” said Pa. Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, who was in Lancaster Friday for a press conference on the subject of immunizations.
Levine joined forces at the press conference with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to reinforce the importance of vaccines to protect against serious conditions that can be life-threatening, such as measles, mumps and hepatitis.
Even if your child has not previously been vaccinated, it is not too late to start now. Vaccine-preventable diseases can be very dangerous, may require hospitalization, and can even result in death. By getting your child the recommended vaccines during childhood and adolescence, you protect them from 16 serious diseases.
The specific requirements are: Children in all grades need 4 doses of tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis; 4 doses of polio; 2 doses of measles, mumps, rubella; 3 doses of hepatitis B; 2 doses of varicella (chickenpox) or evidence of immunity.
For attendance in 7th grade and 12th grades, a child needs one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV).
The department offers immunization year-round across the state. Any child or adult who does not have insurance coverage or if insurance does not cover the necessary vaccinations can get their vaccines at one of the state health centers or local health departments. Anyone looking to visit a local clinic to receive vaccinations should call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) to schedule an appointment.
“Staying current with your immunizations is an important step to protect yourself and your loved ones against serious diseases,” Levine said. “Immunizations provide protection that is needed by both children and adults to help them stay as healthy as possible.”
Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases: meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and bloodstream infections; HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV; Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough; and a yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu.
For more information on school immunizations visit the Pennsylvania go to the Department of Health website https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/programs/immunizations/Pages/School.aspx