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FOR RELEASE: June 5, 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Avoid the “Back To School” Immunization Rush
State Health Department Recommends Early Start

Even though the school year recently ended, this is a good time to prepare for the next school year by arranging to get children vaccinated as soon as possible. Parents who take their children now for vaccination can avoid the back-to-school rush that starts every year in late July and August.

“Vaccinating your children against preventable diseases is one of the most important things a parent or care giver can do for a child. We want to remind everyone that this is one way you can contribute to making Oklahoma a safer and healthier state in which to live, work and travel. Take the time to schedule your children today for their back-to-school vaccinations,” said Secretary of Health and State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher.

The demand for vaccine turns into a rush every year before school starts because of the boosters due before children enter kindergarten. Booster doses of DTaP and polio vaccines and second doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines are routinely recommended at 4 to 6 years of age and are required to attend kindergarten. Also, children transferring into Oklahoma schools from other states may need hepatitis A vaccine. This vaccine is not required in all states, however, hepatitis A vaccine is required for all Oklahoma students in grades kindergarten through twelfth.

Below is a chart showing the vaccines required to attend school in Oklahoma and the number of doses required for each vaccine and grade.

 

Kindergarten - 9th

10 and 11th

12th

5 DTaP/DTP/Td/Tdap

5 DTaP/DTP/Td/Tdap

3 DTaP/DTP/Td/Tdap

4 Polio

4 Polio

4 Polio

2 MMR

2 MMR

2 MMR

3 Hep B

2 or 3 Hep B

2 or 3 Hep B

2 Hep A

2 Hep A

2 Hep A

1 Varicella

 

 


Even though the following vaccines are not required to attend school, they are recommended for children ages 11 years and older:

  • A second dose of varicella vaccine 
  • A Tdap booster to protect against whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria, because immunity decreases with time
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) because the risk for this disease increases from 15 through 24 years of age
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for girls to prevent two types of the virus that cause 70 percent of cervical cancer

All college students are required to have MMR and hepatitis B vaccines, however, first-time enrollees who will reside on campus are also required to receive the meningococcal vaccine. These requirements do not apply to students enrolling only in courses delivered via the Internet or through distance learning in which the student is not required to attend class on campus.

You don’t have to wait until late July or August to get these vaccines. Call and schedule an appointment today or visit your county health department.  If you have any questions about vaccines, ask your doctor, call your local county health department, or call the Oklahoma State Department of Health Immunization Service at (405) 271-4073.

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