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Schools Require New Immunizations

This year, students are required to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A in order to attend school. (Stock image from Pixnio).

Jennifer Marsh

New immunization laws took effect July 1, that will affect about every student in Kentucky from preschool to grade 12.

The biggest change is the requirement of the Hepatitis A vaccine for all students. It’s a two-shot series spanning six months.

The Hep A shot has always been recommended by health providers, but it was not a requirement until this year.

“We have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of children that have already received the shots,” said Kathy Crown-Weber, director of the Mercer County Health Department. “We offer the shots here. They are covered by most insurances, but if you have no insurance the cost is $40.”

The other changes include the addition of a meningitis booster for students ages 16 and up. Also, students will be required to have shots by age and not grade level. What were once known as sixth grade shots are now being called 11-year-old shots.

Parents will need to contact their physician or the health department to see if their child will need the vaccine.

The infinite campus provided by the school should have a record of the shots, as the health department doesn’t have records for children treated by physicians that do not participate in the state immunization registry.

Hepatitis A vaccine is a two dose series six months apart. However, for school entry in 2018 it will be required that each student have at least one dose by the start of school and a follow-up appointment for the second dose.

Kentucky mandates every student have an up to date Commonwealth of Kentucky Immunization Certificate to attend school. Exemptions from these immunizations for both medical reasons and religious beliefs can be obtained.

For more information call the Mercer County Health Department at 734-4522.

To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.

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