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Immunization Rules Changed, District Warns

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Advance notice issued last week by the Pottsgrove School District gave parents of school-age children what amounted to four words of health advice: get your kids immunized.

In a June 5 (2017; Monday) letter to parents, district Superintendent Dr. William Shirk warned that Pennsylvania Department of Health requirements have changed for the 2017-2018 academic year, and require all children attending classes in Pottsgrove and elsewhere to be fully immunized “within the first 5 days of school.” Earlier rules gave parents “a provisional period” of up to 8 months to ensure immunizations were fulfilled

The first day of school for students is Aug. 28 (Monday), according to the district calendar.

Immunization exemptions remain for parents who object to them for medical reasons, religious beliefs, or philosophical, strong moral, or ethical reasons. However, exempted children may be removed from school if an illness outbreak occurs, Shirk noted.

Children in kindergarten through 12th grades need the following immunizations for attendance:

  • 4 doses of tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis, with on dose on or after the child’s fourth birthday;
  • 4 doses of polio, with a fourth dose on or after the fourth birthday and at least 6 months after a previous dose;
  • 2 doses of measles, mumps and rubella;
  • 3 doses of hepatitis B; and
  • 2 doses of varicella (chickenpox), or evidence of immunity;

Additionally, students in grades 7-12 must have:

  • 1 dose of tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis; and
  • 2 doses meningococcal conjugate vaccine, with a first dose before entry into 7th grade, and a second dose at age 16 or before entry into 12th grade.

The letter asked parents to consult with their children’s physician regarding any need for additional immunizations before the academic year begins.

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