North Dakota Department of Health Reminds Parents That Now is the Time to Think About Back-to-School Immunizations

The North Dakota Department of Health is encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated now to avoid the back-to-school rush later this summer.

Children entering school should have five doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis), four doses of IPV (polio), three doses of HBV (hepatitis B), two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), and two doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. There also are vaccines that are required for adolescents when entering middle school. Middle school requirements include an immunization against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) and meningococcal disease (MCV4). Starting this fall for North Dakota college students, the vaccine that protects against meningococcal disease is required for newly admitted students residing in on-campus housing. Other vaccines may be recommended by children’s health-care providers.

“By requiring vaccines, we hope to minimize the spread of preventable illnesses in schools and provide North Dakota’s children with a healthier environment to learn,” said Abbi Pierce, Immunization Surveillance Coordinator. “Children should get vaccinated as soon as possible to ensure they are protected before the first day of school.”

The school requirements reflect immunization recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).  Approximately one-third of middle school students were not up-to-date with Tdap and meningococcal vaccine during the 2011-2012 school year.

“There are many new residents to the state of North Dakota and it is important that parents bring their child’s immunization record from out-of-state to the clinic when they present for immunizations. This way the North Dakota provider will know which immunizations are needed,” said Pierce. “New North Dakota residents may contact the state health department in the state they previously lived in or their previous health-care provider to find their child’s immunization record.”

Children can be vaccinated at local public health units or private health-care providers. For more information on school immunization requirements, contact Abbi Pierce, North Dakota Department of Health, at 1.800.472.2180, or visit our website at www.ndhealth.gov/immunize.

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