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Vaccinations Required for School are Available

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 | 07:00pm

Students can get vaccines early to beat the end of summer rush

Nashville, June 15, 2006

It may seem like school has just let out for the summer, but it’s a great time to prepare for the next school year. Certain immunizations are required in order for children to attend school, but often parents and guardians wait until August to get children immunized. Avoid the late summer lines and plan ahead by getting children vaccinated now.

“Tennessee law requires certain vaccines for children enrolled in day care and all students who attend kindergarten through 12th grade and college in Tennessee,” said Kelly L. Moore, M.D., MPH, medical director of the State Immunization Program. “Vaccines and immunization services are available through all county health departments in Tennessee and at most pediatrician and family physician offices in Tennessee.”

Doctors enrolled in the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program can give vaccines for only a small administration fee to children who are enrolled in TennCare, are without health insurance or are American Indian or Alaskan Native. Children, who are insured but whose health insurance does not cover immunizations, can get vaccinations for a small administration fee at federally qualified health centers, rural health centers or local health departments.

All children who attend kindergarten through 12th grade in public, private or church-related schools must provide proof of immunization against diphtheria; tetanus; pertussis (the DTaP vaccine); measles, mumps, rubella (the MMR vaccine); and polio. In addition, children entering kindergarten or seventh grade require proof of immunity against hepatitis B. Children entering kindergarten also require varicella vaccine if they have not had chickenpox. Tennessee requires full-time college students to have had two doses of MMR.

In addition to these required vaccines, there are other important vaccines against serious childhood diseases that are recommended for all children by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Academy of Pediatrics. Talk to your child’s health care provider to be sure they have received all of the immunizations recommended to protect their health. 

For more information about required vaccinations for school-aged children, please visit http://www2.state.tn.us/health/CEDS/required.htm.

While at the local health department for vaccines for their children, parents may also order a certified short-form birth certificate for $7, which is available at most locations, and may be required for school registration and enrollment. A list of local health departments is also available on the Department of Health’s Web site at http://www2.state.tn.us/health/LocalDepts/ index.html.

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