Officials say more than 300 students could be turned away on August 20, the first day of the school year 2012-13, if they do not meet the new vaccination requirements.
State law and West Virginia Board of Education policy now requires seventh graders to receive a Tdap vaccine booster as well as a dose of the meningococcal vaccine. High school seniors also must show proof of a single dose of Tdap and a booster dose of the meningococcal vaccine if the first dose was given before the age of 16.
“All seventh grade and all seniors — prior to the first day of school — have to have a vaccination upgrade,” said Zigmond during the July 19th Board of Education meeting.
Zigmond said that letters had been sent home to parents and guardians notifying them of the mandatory vaccination upgrade.
“West Virginia law — it is not Logan County Schools — states that come the first day of school on August 20th, if those children have not been vaccinated they will not be allowed to stay at school,” said Zigmond. “We don’t want to send anybody home on the first day of school. That’s not the way it should start, especially for seniors.”
The new requirement incorporates adolescent vaccinations from the Bureau for Public Health Interpretive Rule and adopts the most current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The Logan County Health Department has held several clinics offering the vaccinations, but as of July 26, only a little over 50 students had been vaccinated. There are at least 410 students who need the required vaccinations in Logan County.
Sandra Davis, director of nursing for the Logan County Health Department, said several more clinics are scheduled for August.
“We’re setting aside a week where we can give the vaccines any day of the week,” said Davis. “And then again on the day school starts.”
Davis said parents can bring their children to the health department if they can’t get in to see their family doctor.
“If they have insurance, we have them to sign a form,” said Davis. “They can go ahead and get the shot because we don’t want anyone turned away. We normally do vaccinations on Tuesdays.”
The health department is planning a week long clinic just for the mandatory vaccination upgrades.
“During the week of the 13th, we can give it any day they come in,” said Davis. “On the 20th, a clinic will be held for those who have been turned away at school.”
Students will have to show proof they received Tdap and Meningitis immunizations before they are admitted to class.
The health department provides immunizations every Tuesday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and from 12:30-3 p.m. The health department requires the following documentation: an up-to-date shot record; a note signed by the parent or legal guardian granting permission for the immunization if another caregiver brings the child and a referral from the doctor if immunizations are not covered by insurance or provided at the doctor’s office. For more information on immunizations and requirements for children of all ages, visit wvdhhr.com or call the health department at 304-792-8630.