The new school year will be here before you know it, and the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) would like to remind parents to make sure their children are up to date on immunizations. North Dakota state law requires students in grades kindergarten through 12 meet a minimum number of required immunizations before they are allowed to attend school. Children have a 30-day grace period from the start of the school year before they will be excluded from school for not meeting immunization requirements. The NDDoH is encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated now, rather than waiting until the start of school.
“Ensuring children are up to date on vaccinations is the best way to keep students healthy and stop the spread of infectious diseases such as measles, mumps and pertussis in our schools,” according to Lexie Barber, an epidemiologist with the NDDoH. If you haven’t done so, check with your healthcare provider to find out which vaccines your child needs. Once your child is up to date, be sure to get a copy of his or her immunization record to submit to the school.
This week, the NDDoH sent letters to parents of children entering kindergarten and 7th grade who are not yet up to date for required school entry immunizations. “Children who are not immunized are not only at risk of becoming ill from a variety of diseases but are also able to transmit diseases to others, including those who may not be able to be vaccinated due to various medical conditions,” said Barber.
Before entering school in North Dakota, children must 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)
• two doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
In addition, students entering 7th grade will need:
• one dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis)
• one dose of MCV4 (meningococcal disease)
Cost should not be a barrier to getting children up to date on vaccinations. Children who are American Indian, on Medicaid, uninsured or whose insurance does not cover vaccines can receive vaccine at no cost through the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC). Contact your health care provider or local public health unit if you believe your child could be eligible for VFC vaccines.
For more information on school immunization requirements, contact Lexie Barber, North Dakota Department of Health, at 701.328.2335, or visit our website at www.ndhealth.gov/immunize.
To request a copy of an immunization record from Fargo Cass Public Health, please complete the Immunization Record Request Form.