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Friday, May 28, 2010

Something I had NO idea happened…

until I became a MOM.

“Ohio children entering kindergarten and the seventh grade this year will have new vaccination requirements to take care of before the students can start school.

The Ohio Department of Health recently updated its requirements, and seventh-graders will now need to have a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccination, kindergartners will need a second dose of the chickenpox vaccine and the final dose of polio vaccine must be given on or after a child's 4th birthday for kindergarten entry.

"By requiring these additional vaccines, we hope to minimize the spread of preventable illnesses in schools and provide Ohio's children with a healthier environment to learn," Ohio Department of Health Director Alvin Jackson said in a news release.

Children were already required to have a shot for tetanus and diphtheria, but pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is the new component, said Vickie Kelly, director of nursing at the Marietta Health Department.

Most children age 6 and younger receive protection against it but older children typically don't.

There had been an increase in cases of whooping cough in Ohio in recent years, with cases jumping from 628 in 2008 to 1,096 in 2009.

"This is geared now to children that are 11 or 12," said Kelly. "They've had it before, but after so many years the protection wears off."

When older children get whooping cough, they often react differently than a very young children would, said Kelly, perhaps having spasmodic coughing but not severe respiratory problems, vomiting and other symptoms.

"A lot of times they don't realize what it is then and think it's a cold or the flu," she said. "And all this time they're contagious and can spread it to the very young and very old."

The Marietta Health Department offered the Tdap shots at Marietta Middle School to sixth-graders and vaccinated about 40 percent of the class.

They will be available all summer at the city health department, which is open until 6:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month to accommodate working parents.

The cost is $7, although no one will be turned away for inability to pay.

"We always encourage parents to bring their kids sooner rather than later," Kelly said. "The waiting time is a lot longer when it's right before school starts."

The second dose of the chickenpox vaccine, now required for kindergartners, is also available.

A second dose provides 99 percent protection against the disease and acts as an insurance policy, said Kelly, in case the immunity wasn't formed when children received their first dose.”

I honestly had NO idea until I became a Mom that parents could legally even delay or not get their children vaccinated. I personally don’t understand the paranoia behind not getting a child vaccinated other than for medical or religious reasons. I personally think that if neither of these apply that it should be mandated and that exceptions for any other reasons should not be allowed.

Here a link to my state’s laws regarding the topic:

*stepping off my soap box for now

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