DOH Urges Parents to Use Summer Break to Make Sure Students’ Vaccinations are Up-to-Date

HARRISBURG – Parents and caregivers are urged to use the summer break to make sure all students’ immunizations are up to date before new regulations take effect in August, the Department of Health said.  

To begin the 2011-12 school year, teen students must be able to prove they have received:

  • Meningococcal vaccine (meningitis)
  • Tdap booster (tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough)
  • Chickenpox – a second shot if the child has never had chickenpox

The newly required vaccines for students entering seventh grade are:

  • Tdap (one dose)
  • Meningococcal vaccine (one dose)

The Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine series is also recommended for teens, but is not required by Pennsylvania schools.

Noting June is “Adolescent Immunization Awareness Month,” Health Secretary Dr. Eli Avila said vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective tools in preventing disease.

“Vaccines not only prevent disease in people who receive them, but also protect those who come in contact with unvaccinated individuals, including those who are too young or who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons,” Dr. Avila said.

For teens with limited or no health insurance, contact your health care provider to see if they participate in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program. The program provides free vaccines to eligible children from birth through 18 years of age. You can also contact a local health department office for information about how to receive free or low cost vaccines.

For more information about immunizations, visit www.vaccinesforlife.com or call   1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258). You can also visit the Immunization Action Coalition at www.immunize.org.

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