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Health officials: Don’t wait to schedule school immunizations

JACKSON — While it seems that the school year just ended, the Mississippi State Department of Health reminds parents not to wait until the last minute for back-to-school immunizations.

Mississippi state law requires children to be immunized against childhood diseases to enter public or private school, Head Start or daycare.

More than 99 percent of all students entering kindergarten in Mississippi are up to date on their immunizations, protecting them — and others who cannot be vaccinated — against potentially deadly diseases.

“There are many options for where to get your vaccinations now, including private medical providers, retail pharmacies and county health departments,” MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said. “Regardless of where you have your child vaccinated, it’s incredibly important to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations. It is the best protection for your child and those around them.”

There are required vaccinations for first-time school entry in Mississippi as well as a requirement for entry into the seventh grade.

The Warren County Health Department, 809 Walnut St., will hold a special school registration immunization clinic for children ages 10-17 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, July 15.

No appointment will be necessary.

During this clinic, the health department staff will have additional nursing staff available to provide adolescent immunizations so parents can complete the process quickly and efficiently. Parents should bring a copy of their child’s immunization record.

“A Tdap (tetanus, diptheria, and pertussis) booster vaccination is required for those entering seventh grade. To make sure your adolescent is completely protected, we also recommend they get the HPV (human papillomavirus) and meningococcal vaccinations at the same time,” Byers said.

Parents must provide the school with a Certificate of Immunization Compliance (Form 121) from their immunization provider prior to school entry.

Parents are urged may check with their family physician, pediatrician or county health department if they have questions about which immunizations their child will need. Childhood immunizations are available at county health departments by appointment.

For more information on immunization requirements or medical exemptions for school entry, visit www.HealthyMS.com/immunizations.