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FOR RELEASE: May 31, 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

“Immunize for Healthy Lives” Back-to-School Drive

Don’t wait until the last minute to start planning for your children’s back-to-school needs, especially their vaccinations. That’s the message from the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), McDonald’s, Fox/WB (Warner Brothers), the Oklahoma Caring Van, and local Immunization Coalitions across the state as they launch a back-to-school immunization drive this summer.

In its fourth year in Oklahoma, the “Immunize for Healthy Lives” campaign encourages parents to make certain they stay on schedule with their children’s immunizations so that Oklahoma’s children are fully immunized against dangerous childhood diseases. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the OSDH suggest that staying on schedule with childhood immunizations is the best defense against diseases like whooping cough and measles.

The campaign will feature Oklahoma’s First Lady, Kim Henry, in public service announcements and news articles that reach out to parents, and immunization field staff will provide similar encouraging messages to parents through telephone calls, written reminders and day care center visits.

Participating Oklahoma McDonald’s restaurants will provide immunization information to their customers on tray liners and bag stuffers. During the campaign, McDonald’s will ask those who come into their restaurants to pick up a flyer or placemat to receive a free immunization schedule with clinic locations. McDonald’s will also provide Oklahoma’s county health departments and “Vaccines for Children” providers with coupons good for a free ice cream cone to reward children for getting immunized.

The Caring Van, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, and Fox /WB will assist by setting up special immunization clinics to encourage parents to get their children immunized. The Caring Vans are based in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and can provide on-site immunizations at child care centers, schools and other facilities across the state.

“Without immunizations, children may catch diseases that cause heart defects, mental retardation, and pneumonia. Immunizations can protect your children against 12 dangerous diseases,” said State Health Commissioner Michael Crutcher. “I hope all parents and caregivers will join us in our efforts to protect the health of children.”

The following immunizations are required for children entering childcare, school, or college in Oklahoma. (Note: Children must be up-to-date in the immunizations for their age to attend childcare.)

By 2 months of age:
Hepatitis B #1
DTaP #1
Polio #1
Hib #1

By 4 months of age:
Hepatitis B #2
DTaP #2
Polio #2
Hib #2

By 6 months of age:
Hepatitis B #3 (due 6 to 18 mos. of age)
DTaP #3
Polio #3
Hib (due now or at 12 months)

By 12 months of age:
DTaP #4 (due 12 to 18 mos. of age)
Hib
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) (due 12 to 15 mos. of age)
Varicella (Chickenpox) (due 12 to 18 mos. of age)

At 2 years of age:
Hepatitis A #1

6 to 18 months later:
Hepatitis A #2

Children entering pre-school programs are required to have the same vaccines required for childcare attendance except Hib.

Children entering kindergarten through seventh grade in fall 2005 are required to have:
5 DtaP
4 Polio
3 Hepatitis B
2 Hepatitis A
2 MMR
1Varicella.

Adolescents entering 8th and 9th grades are required to have all the vaccines listed above except Varicella.

Adolescents entering 10th, 11th, & 12th grades are required to have:
3 DtaP
3 Polio
2 MMR
3 Hepatitis B
2 Hepatitis A

College students who are first time enrollees and who will reside in on-campus student housing are required to have meningococcal vaccine. All college students will be required to have MMR and hepatitis B vaccines. This requirement does not apply to students enrolling in courses delivered via the Internet or through distance learning in which the student is not required to attend class on campus.

For more information about immunizations, contact the county health department in your area.

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