- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—W.Va. law states children

must have certain shots

prior to walking into class

FAIRMONT — Students and parents are beginning to think about what schools supplies they will need in preparation for the upcoming school year.

Officials at the Marion County Health Department said parents also need to think about what vaccinations their children need before class begins.

It’s a state law that students entering school, as well as those in seventh and twelfth grade, to have certain vaccinations.

Students entering school for the first time must have proof of immunization for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DTaP), polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), varicella and hepatitis B.

Donna Riffle, the nursing director at the Marion County Health Department, said many children start these vaccinations shortly after they are born.

Students entering school must have four doses of DTaP, and one of those doses must be given after the child’s fourth birthday.

Students must have three doses of polio before admission, with one of those doses given after their fourth birthday.

Students must also have two doses of polio and varicella and three doses of hepatitis B before entering school.

Students in seventh and twelfth grade must have the tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) and meningococcal/meningitis (MCV4) vaccines.

Riffle said these requirements for students in seventh and twelfth grade were put in place in 2012.

She said while it’s not a requirement, officials at the health department are also encouraging boys and girls who are 9 years old and up to get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.

The Marion County Health Department has also received the “Take Your Best Shot” grant from West Virginia Immunization Network (WIN).

Riffle said this campaign is being used to encourage children to complete their vaccinations and to also get the HPV vaccination.

“We want to try to get as many young people vaccinated and protected against that virus as we can,” Riffle said.

She said once a child has completed their series of vaccinations they will receive a sports towel in their school’s colors. These towels come in blue and gold, blue and white and black and silver.

Riffle said there is no religious exemption for these required vaccinations.

However, she said there is a medical exemption if a student has a certain medical condition.

Riffle said making sure students are vaccinated before school starts is important.

“We have vaccine preventable diseases such as measles and pertussis,” Riffle said. “By having these vaccines it prevents those diseases. There are some children that might be immunocompromised that cannot get the vaccine. So if your child can (be vaccinated) they’re not just protecting themselves, but the other children as well.”

Gary Price, the superintendent of Marion County Schools, said he appreciates all of the help parents give in making sure their child has the required vaccinations.

“So far the parents in Marion County have been cooperative in making sure their children have the required vaccines before going back to school,” Price said.

He said children are expected to have the required vaccines before walking into class for the first day of school on Thursday, Aug. 20.

The required vaccinations are offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Wednesday at the Marion County Health Department.

Riffle said officials will offer vaccinations from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at the Marion County Health Department.

She said there will also be a vaccination clinic from 9-11 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the Marion County Health Department.

This means there are about five more opportunities for children to get their vaccinations at the health department before school starts.

Riffle said no appointment is required.

She said if the patient does not have insurance the vaccinations are $19.85 a piece.

Patients who do have health insurance as well as a private care provider, they are required to get a referral from their doctor before receiving a vaccination at the health department.

Riffle said patients who have health insurance but do not have a private care provider need to complete a self-referral, which can be done at the health department.

Patients must bring their medical card, a parent or guardian and their immunization record with them in order to receive a vaccination at the health department.

Riffle said if a patient can’t find their immunization record they can check at their school for a copy.

For more information call the Marion County Health Department at 304-366-3360.

Email Angelee Wiley at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @AWileyTWV.

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(c)2015 the Times West Virginian (Fairmont, W. Va.)

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