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School Nurses Urge Parents to Schedule Back-to-School Vaccinations

Monday, August 12, 2013

During the month of August, Vaccination Awareness Month, the Wisconsin Association of School Nurses (WASN) urges parents to plan ahead to have children vaccinated early before sending them back to school.

The statewide organization also expressed concern that some parents may not realize federal funding changes announced late last year require those with private immunization insurance coverage to take their children to private doctors for vaccinations rather than public health departments.

Due to changes in federal funding, public health departments are no longer able to administer vaccines to children and adults with private health insurance. Parents need to determine now if their private health insurance covers immunizations, and if so, should have their children immunized by their private health care provider.

Updated immunizations should not be left to the last minute and it is important to make appointments soon to avoid stress as school start dates get closer. Kindergartners will need additional doses of several vaccines, sixth graders will need Tdap, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) and both sixth and twelfth graders who have not had chickenpox will require a second dose of varicella.

WASN offers tips to make back-to-school vaccination preparation easy, including reviewing current immunization records on the Wisconsin Immunization Registry, consulting with the family doctor on what vaccinations are needed and scheduling an appointment soon, and contacting a city or county health department to see if they have free immunization clinics for those who qualify.
Wisconsin law requires K5 through fifth graders to be immunized within 30 days after school starts or they can be excluded from school for up to 10 days or the parent fined. Wisconsin requires children be vaccinated against chicken pox, measles/mumps/rubella, hepatitis B, polio and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus. Waivers are available for religious, personal or medical reasons. Although not required by law, it is also recommended that students receive three doses of the human papilloma vaccine at sixth grade.

WASN indicates that while not required by state law, college and military bound individuals are also being encouraged to get an additional dose of the meningitis vaccine, which was originally administered only once to children.

Vaccinations save lives and getting them done early helps keep everyone safe.