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New Immunization Requirements for School

Starting this school year, students must now show proof of three vaccine shots before they can enter the seventh grade. Bill Stamps has more.

Most parents are aware of the shots children need before they can enter kindergarten. But this year there are some changes. All seventh graders have to show shot records for meningitis, tetanus and a second dose of varicella—the vaccine for chicken pox. Anna Dragsbaek is the director of Houston Area Immunization Partnership.

“The purpose of having them show it for seventh grade is to make sure that they catch the kids who didn’t get the second dose. The recommendation of the CDC for the chicken pox vaccine has changed from one dose to two doses.”

Dragsbaek says tetanus and meningitis shots have never been required until now. She says outbreaks of meningitis on school campuses are serious and can spread fast.

“It’s very deadly and for those children that it doesn’t kill, it can actually do substantial long term damage: loss of limbs, loss of hearing and other neurological problems.”

Experts say children who see a doctor regularly more than likely are already up to date on the newly required shots and will simply need to show proof to the school nurse. The state health department says it’s extending the deadline for the shots until October first. Apparently, some doctors didn’t order enough of the vaccines, causing a shortage in some parts of the state.

Bill Stamps KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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