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State Health Department: Free Clinics Offer Required School Shots

The clinics run April 9-13.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reminding parents and caregivers to take advantage of April's free statewide vaccination clinics for school children. The clinics, running April 9-13, are intended to ensure students have received all immunizations required for school attendance.

Appointments can be made through April 13 by calling 877-PA HEALTH (877-724- 3258), or through any of the department’s 60 local State Health Centers. The most recent copy of the student’s vaccination history must be provided at the time of the appointment. Students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Currently, more than 1,400 children statewide are scheduled for the clinics.

New regulations took effect last August requiring children in all grades to receive a second dose of mumps vaccine as well as a second dose of the chicken pox vaccine. Students in seventh grade are also required to have one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) and one dose of the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap). All vaccines must be appropriately spaced to be considered valid.

Families were given an eight-month provisional period when the school year began to get students up-to-date with their vaccinations. This period comes to an end eight months from the beginning of school. Since school districts vary, the department estimates that to be anytime from mid-April through mid-May.

Individual school districts are responsible for enforcing the new regulations. They were developed upon recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. To review the regulations, visit www.health.state.pa.us/immunizations.

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