Hendricks Regional Health Blog

Updated Vaccine Requirements for School-Aged Children

Posted by: Thomas GiaQuinta, M.D.   |   Monday, February 10, 2014   |   Latest Articles   |   Back to Blog

flu vaccine, Hepatitis A, Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV), Indiana immunization requirements, Indiana State Department of Health Immunization Program, Meningococcal infection, vaccinations, vaccine requirements for school, childhood immunizations, childhood vaccinations

clientuploads/2014/Kids-ThnkStk-106456903.pngAlong with many school systems around the country, the Indiana State Department of Health Immunization Program has recently updated the required immunizations for school entry. Here is some information pertaining to the new requirements, as well as brief descriptions of the dangerous diseases they prevent:

Hepatitis A:
New Requirement: TWO doses prior to entry into Kindergarten. First dose can be given as early as 1 year, the second dose six months later. They recommend children already in school receive the two doses as well.

What does Hepatitis A cause? The most common symptom of Hepatitis A is fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, as in, the worst diarrhea of your life. While this in itself can cause you and your children to get quite dehydrated and sick, it can also cause severe liver failure and death in the elderly or those with liver disease. It is spread mostly be poor hand hygiene which is why, from time to time, you hear of Heaptits A outbreaks shutting down restaurants and daycares.

Interesting fact: Over the last 20 years, there has been a 90% decrease in Heaptits A cases, thanks to this mighty vaccine.

Meningococcal infection:
New Requirement: All school-aged kids that received their Meningococcal Vaccine (MCV) at age 11-15 will need a BOOSTER vaccine prior to entering the 12th grade. If he or she received the vaccine when 16 or older, a booster is not required.

What is meningococcal disease? Meningococcus is a type of bacteria that is especially notorious for infecting the fluid around the brain and spinal cord, a term called meningitis, and blood stream. Absolutely, this is one of the most feared infections healthcare providers face. When it doesn’t result in death, can cause permanent brain damage, hearing loss, seizures, and loss of limbs. It is spread most commonly by people living in close quarters (such as schools and dorm rooms). There are several strains of Meningococcus, and unfortunately the vaccine does not protect against all of them.

Interesting fact: There are TWO college outbreaks, in Princeton and University of California Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, both outbreaks are not protected by the vaccine we give in the United States. Those that attend these schools, however, can receive this strain-specific vaccine.

Two recommendations that you should STRONGLY consider:
Influenza vaccine: H1N1. Sound familiar? It should! It was the flu strain responsible for killing 282 children in 2009, and is the most common form of ‘flu’ this year, too. This year’s vaccine covers H1N1, among others flu strains. Because of increased vaccination rates, we have seen ‘only’ 28 pediatric deaths this year. It’s not too late to protect your children from the flu.

Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV): With all the advances in medicine, there is only one medicine that actually PREVENTS cancer, which is HPV vaccine’s protection against cervical/penile cancer (and cervical/penile warts). There has been some recent media attention that the vaccine isn’t safe. This isn’t true. I write more about that on my Indy Peds Doc blog.

~T. Anthony GiaQuinta, M.D.

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