MASON COUNTY — While local students may not want to think about it yet, the first day of school is merely a month away, and parents who have not yet taken their children entering 7th and 12th grade to meet the new immunization requirements are running out of time.
It was reported the first day of school for Mason County students is Aug. 20, and those students who do not have documentation of updated immunizations will not be permitted to attend school. According to Diana Riddle with the Mason County Health Department, there will be no grace period for the 7th and 12th grade students; if they do not have the required immunizations, they will not be able to attend school. The new requirements are as follows: 7th grade students must show proof of a booster dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine and one dose of meningococcal/meningitis vaccine. 12th grade students also must show proof of a dose of Tdap plus a dose of meningococcal/meningitis vaccine after the age of 16 years.
As previously reported, parents may not simply take their children to the health department to receive these vaccinations. Children with insurance must receive the vaccine from a physician. If the child’s physician does not offer the vaccination, a referral form must be obtained from the physician, which can be taken to the health department in order to receive the vaccine. Children whose insurance does not cover the vaccination, as well as those covered by Medicaid, CHIPS, or those with no insurance, vaccinations can be obtained from the health department.
Riddle estimated there would be around 600 students who would need the vaccinations before the start of the school year and the health department has been giving around 10-15 vaccinations a month. Riddle also stated the health department had recently received several calls regarding the new requirements and they had seen several students who have presented referral forms for the vaccinations.
The health department is continuing their work in getting the word out about these new requirements, and is also holding several immunizations clinics before the beginning of the school year. Immunization clinics will be held at the health department at the following dates and times: July 26, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aug. 2, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aug. 6, noon to 6:30 p.m., Aug. 7, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 9, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 13, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Aug. 14, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 15, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 16, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Aug. 23, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Aug. 30, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
It was reported that parents must be with their children and current immunization records must be available during these clinics. Riddle also stated they are encouraging students who have already received the vaccinations and provided the schools with updated information to still have a a copy of their immunization records with them on the first day of school.
For more information, contact the health department at 304-675-3050.