Immunization checks required for new school year - East Valley Tribune: News

Immunization checks required for new school year

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Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2008 5:03 pm | Updated: 8:54 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Sixth-grade students have a couple of weeks to make sure they have new immunization requirements taken care of for the new school year.

Students who are at least 11 years old are required to have the TDaP (Tetanus/Diptheria and Pertussis) and meningococcal immunizations for the 2008-2009 school year.

While most schools get in earlier, families have until Sept. 1 to make sure they’re in compliance. (*NOTE: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated families have until Sept. 11.)

Even though Scottsdale schools are back in Aug. 11, the Scottsdale Unified School District hasn’t received many calls about the new requirement, said Milissa Sackos, the district’s executive director of student and community services.

“I think there was an awareness before people left school, so perhaps that has decreased the calls we’ve received,” Sackos said.

However, there is information on the immunization requirements on the district’s Web site at http://susd.org/district/studentservices/healthserv.cfm. Sackos recommended contacting individual school nurses with any other questions.

Scottsdale Healthcare is also hosting a free child immunization clinic Saturday for anyone who has yet to get their shots.

The requirement created a few busy afternoons at the Chandler CARE Center, formerly  the San Marcos Resource Center. Free immunization clinics are held Thursday afternoons.

Most times, the clinic sees about 50 people.

“Last week we had people waiting in the hot sun at 11:30 in the morning in order to be at the beginning of the line” for the 2 p.m. clinic, director Susan Horan said. One woman drove from Coolidge with her child. Only the first 100 are served during each clinic.

“She got No. 100,” Horan said. Chandler Regional Medical Center was assisting at the clinics.

Mesa Fire Department also hosts immunization events.

To meet the demand, the Maricopa County Department of Health Services will hold several clinics Saturday, free for children 18 and younger. Volunteer nurses and fire department personnel from the local communities will assist at the sites. The event will be used as an emergency event preparation activity, said Machrina Leach, a registered nurse with the county department.

All school-required immunizations will be available, not just the latest requirements. Leach expects 300 to 500 children to be seen at each of the six locations, including two in the East Valley.

“This is routinely a busy time of the season,” Leach said. “We just always have a rush before school starts. Parents forget immunizations are going to be necessary before school starts. It’s just one of the last things on the list they do.”

Parents were informed last spring about the requirement, with some notices going out as early as January, she said.

Arizona is the first state to require these immunizations. In the past, children have needed a booster for the tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations, but the newest shot – which includes a vaccine against pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough – is preferred, said Kathy Fredrickson, immunization office chief for the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“Pertussis is … very critical and can be fatal for very young children. As an adolescent or adult, whooping cough is like a very bad cough that lasts for over two weeks,” she said.

Immunization clinics run by Chandler Regional Medical Center have seen 854 children in the last two weeks alone, said Eileen Dohse, a registered nurse with the community outreach/vaccine program.

“More and more people have moved into the area. We are increasing by several thousand shots per year,” Dohse said.

All schools are required to give an immunization update to the state department by Nov. 15, Fredrickson said.

“It’s up to the schools to make sure that their students are inoculated. It can be a pandemic issue for them,” said state Department of Education spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico.

More changes may be on the way next year. A proposal on the Arizona Immunization Program Web site for the 2009-10 school year includes hepatitis A vaccinations for kindergarten or first grade students as well as a second dose of varicella vaccine.

Scottsdale Healthcare Immunization Clinic

When: 8 a.m. to noon Saturday

Where: Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn, 3634 Building, 3634 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Suite 100

Who: All children. Kids must be accompanied by a parent or guardian

What: All children’s vaccines recommended recommended by the National Vaccine Advisory Council will be offered. Bring a copy of immunization records.

Cost: Free

Information: (480) 882-4317 or http://shc.org/content.asp?lnavid=364

Maricopa County Back-to-School Immunization Clinics

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2

Where: Chandler High School, 350 N. Arizona Ave., and Mesa Immunization Clinic, 423 N. Country Club Drive.

Who: All children 18 and younger. Children 17 or younger must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

What: All school-age immunizations will be offered. Bring a copy of immunization records.

Cost: The event is free and sponsored by the Maricopa County Department of Health Services.

Information: (602) 506-6767 or www.wearepublichealth.org

Chandler Regional Medical Center Immunization Clinic

When: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2

Where: Chandler Regional Hospital, Morrison Building, 1875 W. Frye Road

Who: All children, 6 weeks to 18 years old

What: All school-age immunizations will be offered. Bring a copy of immunization records.

Cost: All clinics, held the first and third Saturdays of the month, are free.

Information: (480) 728-3777

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