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Childhood Immunization Requirements Change for 2009-2010 School Year

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The State of Texas has adopted new immunization requirements for students in Texas elementary and secondary schools.  Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, all kindergarten students will be required to have two doses of Varicella vaccine, two doses of MMR vaccine, and two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine prior to enrollment. 


Also students entering the Seventh grade in the 2009-2010 school year are now required to have the Meningococcal vaccine, two doses of the Varicella vaccine, and a booster dose of the Tdap vaccine prior to enrollment.


“This new law greatly impacts all children entering kindergarten and 7th grade across the state,” states Zachary Thompson, DCHHS Director. “We encourage parents to bring their children in now to ensure that their children’s immunizations are current and up-to-date prior to the start of the new school year,” Thompson continued.


Varicella or Chickenpox vaccine is the best way to prevent chickenpox. Vaccination not only protects vaccinated persons, it also reduces the risk for exposure in the community for persons unable to be vaccinated because of illness or other conditions, including those who may be at greater risk for severe disease.


While no vaccine is 100-percent effective in preventing disease, the chickenpox vaccine is very effective: about 8 to 9 of every 10 people who are vaccinated are completely protected from chickenpox. In addition, the vaccine almost always prevents against severe disease.


If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually a very mild case lasting only a few days and involving fewer skin lesions (usually less than 50), mild or no fever, and few other symptoms.


Measles is the most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses. The disease spreads very easily, so it is important to protect against infection. To prevent measles, children (and some adults) should be vaccinated with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Two doses of this vaccine are needed for complete protection.


Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A can affect anyone. Vaccines are available for long-term prevention of HAV infection in persons 1 year of age and older. Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation can also help prevent the spread of Hepatitis A.


Meningococcal vaccines protect against most types of meningococcal disease, although they do not prevent all cases.


Tetanus (lockjaw) is a serious disease that causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in about 1 in 10 cases. 


Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat. It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death.  Whooping cough — known medically as pertussis — is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection.


Although it initially resembles an ordinary cold, whooping cough may eventually turn more serious, particularly in infants. Whooping cough is most contagious before the coughing starts. The best way to prevent it is through vaccinations. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP. The whooping cough booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. Both protect against whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria.


DCHHS offers childhood  immunizations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, on the first floor of the DCHHS  building, 2377 N. Stemmons Freeway. 


The clinic is open Wednesdays from 8 a.m.—6 p.m. While the cost is $10 for children on their first visit and $5 for children who have previously visited the clinic, no one will be refused service due to their inability to pay.  No appointment is necessary. Parents are asked to bring their child’s vaccination records. For more information, call (214) 819-2163.  For a list of neighborhood clinics visit  www.dallascounty.org.



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