2010-07-23 / Front Page

Students must be up-to-date on shots prior to start of 2010-2011 school year

By LISA CARNLEY
Staff Writer

This graph shows immunizations mandated for all Texas students entering kindergarten through 12th grade. Officials note students must be up-to-date on shots before attending school. This graph shows immunizations mandated for all Texas students entering kindergarten through 12th grade. Officials note students must be up-to-date on shots before attending school. About 50 of the Lampasas Independent School District’s incoming seventh-graders won’t be able to start school on Aug. 23 if they don’t get the required vaccinations first, according to LISD director of health services Jamie Jones.

“Before school was out, LISD contacted all students numerous times who will need vaccines, they should know they have to have them,” said Mrs. Jones.

Students enrolled in public school must have current vaccinations. Beginning with last year’s term, the Texas Department of Health Services increased the requirements, and a new schedule of shots took effect.

In the past, Texas required a tetanus/diphtheria vaccine, and now students are required to have a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine.

Before the new regulations, the pertussis vaccine was administered to 14- and 15- year-olds, but now incoming seventh-grade students are required to have an initial dose of the Tdap vaccine.

Also beginning last year, students entering kindergarten are required for the first time to be vaccinated against hepatitis A.

And another TDHS requirement that went into effect with the 2009-2010 school year required students entering kindergarten and seventh-grade to have had two doses of varicella -- chicken pox -- vaccine.

Generally, the first dose is administered at 12 months, and the second at kindergarten age, said the school health official.

In addition, the meningococcal vaccine was a new requirement for students. In the past, college-age students could opt to take the vaccine. Some schools required it for entrance into dormitories.Now, students entering seventh grade must have had one dose. To ensure students are up-with required vaccinations, Lampasas ISD will offer shot clinics at various events in the community.

“We continue to work with parents to try to get the kids vaccinated in the most costeffective and convenient way we can,” said Mrs. Jones, who reminds parents that the LISD is serious about its students’ vaccination regimen.

On the first day of school, if students don’t have the required first doses, they do not get a schedule or their teacher assignments. “They just don’t get to start,” Mrs. Jones said. “Our guidelines come from the state. They are not created by our school district. Everyone must be vaccinated.”

Students who have had their first doses but are due a booster or second dose may be admitted to school, but they must comply with requirements in a timely manner, Mrs. Jones said.

Vaccination clinics will be offered during district-wide registration for students entering prekindergarten through 12th grade on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Lampasas High School, and at Meet the Teacher Nights on Aug. 17 from 6-8 p.m. at Lampasas Middle School and Aug. 19 from 5-6 p.m. at Taylor Creek, Kline Whitis and Hanna Springs elementary schools.

In addition, clinics are offered through the Public Health Department at 500 E. Eighth St. on Aug. 13 and Aug. 23 (the first day of school) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Phone the clinic at 556-5421 for information.

The Lampasas ISD is a provider of the State Free Vaccine for Children program and provides immunizations at no cost to students who have Medicaid or CHIP, those who do not have insurance or those who have insurance that does not cover vaccinations. In addition, those who cannot afford a co-pay will be administered shots at no cost.

Students with private health insurance are asked to get immunizations from their local healthcare provider, Mrs. Jones added.

“We want our kids healthy, and for that, they must go to school and have been vaccinated according to the law. It’s all about their health and the health of those around them.”

Those who have taken their child to a doctor are asked to send a copy of the updated shot record to the child’s school.

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