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FOR RELEASE: July 11 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

“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 fifth 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 Oklahoma State Department of Health stress that staying on schedule with childhood immunizations is the best defense against diseases such as whooping cough and measles.

The campaign will feature public service announcements and news articles that encourage parents to make certain their children are up-to-date in their immunizations. Immunization field staff will provide similar messages to parents through telephone calls, written reminders and child 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 with the childhood immunization schedule and the locations of free immunization clinics. McDonald’s will also provide Oklahoma’s county health departments and “Vaccines for Children” providers with coupons good for a free reward for children who get 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 childcare 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 14 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 or school.

  • Children entering childcare should be up-to-date for their age with:
    • Hepatitis A vaccine, with the first dose on or after the first birthday, and the second dose 6 to 18 months later
    • Three doses of hepatitis B vaccine by 19 months of age
    • One dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine given on or after the first birthday, or a statement from the parent or doctor confirming the child had chickenpox disease
    • One dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella vaccine) given on or after the first birthday
    • DTaP at 2, 4, 6, and 12 - 18 months of age
    • IPV (polio vaccine) at 2, 4, and 6 - 18 months of age
    • Three to four doses of Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine (Hib) at 2, 4, 6, and 12 months of age
  • Children entering pre-school must be up-to-date for all of the vaccines required for childcare, except Hib. Hib vaccine is not required to attend pre-school.
  • 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 (or four doses if the 4th dose was given on or after 4th birthday), except for eleventh and twelfth grades who need only three doses
    • Four doses of polio vaccine (or three doses if the 3rd dose was given on or after the 4th birthday), except for eleventh and twelfth grades who need only three doses
  • Children entering kindergarten through eighth grade must also have:
    One dose of varicella vaccine or a statement from the parent or doctor confirming the child had chickenpox disease.

The new Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis) booster vaccine is also available for adolescents at all county health departments and from health care providers. It is strongly recommended for all adolescents, even though Oklahoma’s school immunization law does not require it. This booster is especially important for those in contact with infants younger than 12 months of age.

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 are also required to have MMR and hepatitis B vaccines. These requirements do 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 information about childhood immunizations, clinics scheduled in your area, or to find out about meningitis vaccinations for college students, call your county health department or health care provider.



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