New stu­dent im­mu­niza­tion re­quire­ments

The Covington News - - LOCAL - STAFF RE­PORTS news@cov­news.com

Par­ents of ris­ing sev­enth-graders in the New­ton County School Sys­tem (NCSS) should take note of changes to the state im­mu­niza­tion re­quire­ments that go into ef­fect in July.

Be­gin­ning in the 20142015 school year, sev­enth-graders must have Tdap — tetanus, diph­the­ria and per­tus­sis – and MCV – meningo­coc­cal con­ju­gate — vac­cines prior to en­ter­ing school.

This re­quire­ment has been re­vised to align with cur­rent rec­om­men­da­tions of the Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee on Im­mu­niza­tion Prac­tices (ACIP), the Amer­i­can Academy of Pe­di­atrics (AAP) and the Amer­i­can Academy of Fam­ily Physi­cians (AAFP).

Stu­dents will not re­ceive class sched­ules un­less they have these vac­cines.

“The ad­di­tion of these new school re­quire­ments will lead to an in­crease in im­mu­niza­tion cov­er­age lev­els in Ge­or­gia and re­duce dis­ease not only in these pop­u­la­tions but through­out the state,” ac­cord­ing to a let­ter from Com­mis­sioner Brenda Fitzger­ald and the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health.

Ge­or­gia ranked 39th in Tdap rates and 22nd in meningo­coc­cal rates, ac­cord­ing to data from the Na­tional Im­mu­niza­tion Sur­vey (NIS).

“We are op­ti­mistic that this re­duc­tion in dis­ease rates will con­comi­tantly re­duce school ab­sen­tee rates and thereby also im­prove stu­dents’ per­for­mance,” the let­ter said.

“Stu­dents’ achieve­ment is of­ten im­pacted by their lack of at­ten­dance, so any­thing that can be done to keep stu­dents healthy and safe from pre­ventable in­fec­tion is im­por­tant,” said NCSS Su­per­in­ten­dent Samantha Fuhrey.

This new re­quire­ment also ap­plies to new en­trants to Ge­or­gia school grades eight through 12, any child en­ter­ing any school in Ge­or­gia for the first time or en­ter­ing af­ter hav­ing been ab­sent from a Ge­or­gia school for more than 12 months or one school year.

For more in­for­ma­tion or ques­tions, par­ents should con­tact their child’s school nurse.

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