BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) - Students will need several shots this school year after the Arkansas Health Department announced new immunization requirements.
Donna Johnson, registered nurse and clinic coordinator, said the Benton County Health Department has doubled their appointments for shows, seeing about 50 students a day.
"They will be informed if they come to school this year and they don't have all of their vaccines," Donna said, "They usually have about 30 days."
"We are trying to impress upon our parents to get these vaccines this summer whole we are less busy," Johnson said. "We are starting to pick up now already."
The Tdap shot against whooping cough is required for students who will be 11 years of age before Sept. 1, according to the health department.
Whooping cough has been on the rise in the last few years. The health department state that there were 466 cases of whooping cough in 2013 in Arkansas, up from 80 cases in 2011.
The requirements are for students in private and public school.
"We are going to see here how this all pans out," Johnson said. "If the schools see when things get started that there are a lot of kids that still haven't had their vaccines, we'll be discussing with the school and decide when and if we're having the need for extended hours or mass clinics."
The shots are available through local health units and primary care doctors. Parents need to bring their insurance and if they don't have any, the local health department will provide the vaccines for free or at a reduced cost.
- Kindergarten and Grade 1: students need one Hepatitis A shot that was given on or after their first birthday.
- Kindergarten through Grade 12: students need to complete a series of three polio shots. One of the shots must have been given on or after the student’s fourth birthday.
- Grade 7: students need a meningococcal shot. Students turning age 16 years on or before September 1 regardless of their grade will also need a meningococcal shot of they have not already had one. If they have had one prior to turning 16, they will need a second shot. Students turning age 16 years on or before September 1 will have until October 1 to meet this new requirement.
- Grades 1 through 12: students need to have completed a series of four DTaP shots with one given on or after the student’s fourth birthday. Only three DTaP shots are required if the student did not receive any before age 7 years. The DTaP shot is the pertussis shot for young children. It also protects against tetanus and diphtheria.
- Kindergarten through Grade 12: students need to complete a series of two varicella shots. Varicella is also called chickenpox. History of disease can be provided in lieu of getting the shot, but only if it is reported by a medical professional.
Source: Arkansas Health Department