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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments
Back-to-School Immunizations

For Release: (Date)
Contact: (_____) County Health Department
(Administrator)
(Phone Number)

“Back-to-School” Immunization Clinics Scheduled

Back-to-school immunization clinics are in full swing at the _____ County Health Department. Parents and caregivers should check their children’s immunization records to be certain they are current for the upcoming school year. If not, now is the time to schedule an appointment with your health care provider or visit the _____ County Health Department.

The following back-to-school immunization clinics have been scheduled by the _____ County Health Department: (Insert the date, time, and place of childhood immunization clinics scheduled in your county or area.)

“Vaccinating our children against preventable diseases is one of the most important ways parents and caregivers can protect their children,” said _____ County Health Department Administrative Director _____. “When we don’t vaccinate, we leave the door open for the return for diseases such as measles, which continues to be a threat to children in the United States. School vaccination laws have helped eliminate major vaccine-preventable diseases, so take the time to schedule your children soon for their back-to-school vaccinations,” _____ said.

The following immunizations are required for children entering childcare or school.
• Children entering childcare should be up-to-date for their age with:
• Hepatitis A vaccine, with the first dose due at 12 months of age and the second dose due six to 18 months later
• Three doses of hepatitis B vaccine by 19 months of age
• One dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine due at 12 to 15 months of age or a statement from the parent or doctor confirming the child had chickenpox disease
• One dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella vaccine) due at 12 to 15 months of age
• Four doses of DTaP at 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 18 months of age
• Three doses of IPV (polio vaccine) at 2, 4, and 6 to 18 months of age
• Two to three doses of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine (Hib) at 2, 4, and 6 months of age or 2 and 4 months of age depending on the type of Hib
vaccine used. Children usually receive three to four doses of Hib vaccine, but due to a nationwide shortage of Hib vaccine, some children will not receive the third or fourth doses.
• One to four doses of PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) at 2, 4, 6 and 12 to 15 months of age
• Children entering pre-school must be up-to-date for all of the vaccines required for childcare, except Hib and PCV.
• All children entering kindergarten through the twelfth grade in Oklahoma are required to have:
• Two doses of MMR vaccine
• Two doses of hepatitis A vaccine
• Two or three doses of hepatitis B vaccine (Adolescents 11 through 15 years of age can receive a two-dose series)
• Five doses of DTaP/DTP
• Four doses of polio
• Children entering kindergarten through the eleventh grade must also have:
• One dose of varicella vaccine or a statement from the parent or doctor confirming the child had chickenpox disease.

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.

College students in Oklahoma are also required to present vaccination records. All college students are required to have MMR and hepatitis B vaccines and first-time college enrollees who will live on campus are also required to receive the meningococcal vaccine (MCV). The college 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.

While preparing for back to school, the _____ County Health Department also suggests that parents be mindful of the new pandemic flu (“swine flu”) that is circulating in Oklahoma and throughout the nation. Children may be exposed to the new flu when they return to school, and schools will be vigilant in screening and sending home those children with fever and respiratory symptoms. Parents and caregivers who work outside the home should plan now for how they will handle caring for sick children at home. While a vaccine is not yet ready to prevent the new H1N1 influenza virus, school children are likely to be a priority group for immunization when the vaccine becomes available. Even so, there could be several weeks when children will be exposed to the virus before the new H1N1 vaccine is available for distribution.

For more information, call the _____ County Health Department at (phone number).

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Preparing for Back-to-School
Radio PSA

_____ County Health Department

60 seconds

If you are a parent or caregiver thinking about back-to-school needs for your children, the _____ County Health Department reminds you to add required school vaccinations to your list. Check immunization records to make certain your child is up-to-date and ready for day care or school. For those children needing immunizations, clinics are now open at the _____ County Health Department on (days) from (time) to (time) to get those back-to-school shots. This year, parents should also be mindful of the new pandemic influenza now in Oklahoma. Currently, no vaccination is available for this new H1N1 influenza virus. Children returning to school could be exposed to the new flu and schools will be sending sick children home. If you work outside the home, make sure you have a plan on how you would care for a sick child. For more information, call the _____ County Health Department at (phone number).

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