POINT PLEASANT — Beginning last year, and continuing every year after, older students entering the seventh and twelfth grade will have shot requirements that must be met before the start of the school year.
Seventh and twelfth grade students will not be allowed to attend school this fall without proof of these immunizations. It is important that once you receive the vaccines and the providers update your immunization record, that the school nurse is sent a copy of the vaccines for their records.
The Mason County Health Department recently sent out a reminder that seventh grade students must show proof of a booster dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine and one dose of meningococcal/meningitis vaccine. Twelfth grade students also must show proof of a dose of Tdap (ususally obtained at age 11-12 years) plus at least one dose of meningococcal/meningitis vaccine after the age of 16 years. If the student received a meningococcal vaccine prior to the age of 16, a second meningococcal vaccine will be required for the twelfth grade.
These vaccines can be obtained at the physician’s office along with a comprehensive medical exam. Some physicians that adolescents see may not offer the vaccines. In those cases the health department can help. If you have private insurance that pays for vaccines but your physician does not provide vaccines, the physician will provide you with a referral form that you can take to the health department along with the most current immunization record. If your insurance does not cover vaccine, you may obtain vaccines at the health department as well as if you have Medicaid, CHIPS or no insurance.
Mason County Health Department staff remind it is important that you have a copy of your child’s immunization record when you go to the physician’s office or the health department. Although the state of West Virginia has a statewide immunization registry, not all physicians participate in the registry. This registry allows your child’s immunization record to be obtained on the computer and shared from one physicians office to the other as well as health departments.
According to health department staff, immunizations are one area of your child’s health care that is often overlooked when they become adolescents but it’s never too early to start planning for a child’s health care, regardless of their age.
If you have questions about the vaccines, call your doctor, health department or school nurse. Mason County Health Department staff recommend not waiting until fall to make a doctors appointment to get these vaccines.