Going to school? Gotta get your shots! - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Going to school? Gotta get your shots!

March 19, 2007

Albany - A change in the shots your child must get before entering school. Children must now get two new shots, vaccines for pneumococcal disease and Hepatitis A. And those aren't the only changes.

Everyday at Merry Acres Middle School, students come to Nurse Ross' office to be checked out for their ailments. "Very busy."

Sometimes they're sick. Sometimes they're sick of school.  Nurse Ross says, "Our average here at this school is 30, 35 children a day."

And with more than 800 kids in one building, you can bet that if a contagious illness is caught, it will be tossed around to others. Just imagine, for example if there were a massive outbreak.

Ross says, "There would be a lot of kids missing school, teachers missing days to the point where they could have to shut school down."

That's why the state has upped the requirements for student immunizations. After July 1st, all children entering kindergarten or the 6th grade must have two doses of mumps and Measles and one dose of Rubella. Right now, there's only a requirement for one of each.

A second dose of Varicella has also been added. You may not be familiar with that name, but you're certainly familiar with what it's commonly known as, Chickenpox.

Tom Seegmueller says, "We've had children with one shot that are still having a weakened form of the disease and spreading it on. So, a boost may be needed to make sure that children are protected. "That's why we're going to the second dose on vericella, is to cut back on breakthrough."

Two new vaccines have been added to the list. Children under five will be required to have the vaccine against pneumococcal disease and children born on or after January 1st 2006 will need protection against Hepatitis A. "Some of these diseases could be life threatening or pose other problems that could last a lifetime," says Ross.

Schools and day care centers will require proof of immunizations before allowing your child to attend. You can also call your local health department or your child's pediatrician for more information.

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