Vaccinations required for school

BIG RAPIDS — The Health Department would like to remind parents about the vaccinations required by the State of Michigan for students entering sixth grade or changing school districts. Starting last fall, new rules went into effect for all sixth graders and students aged 11-18 years.

Spring is the time for “kindergarten round-up”, and most parents know vaccines are required. Now students entering the new frontier of middle school must have certain vaccines. “As children get older, immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off,” said Dr. James Wilson, Medical Director for District Health Department #10. “Children coming into their teen years are also at risk for new diseases.”

Students who are 11 years old and entering sixth grade need two doses of varicella vaccine, one dose of meningococcal vaccine, and a booster dose of tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis vaccine. Human papillomavirus vaccine is also recommended for this age group.

“We are fortunate to have vaccines that work to prevent many harmful diseases in both children and adults,” said Dr. Wilson. “It can be confusing for parents to figure out when the different vaccine combinations and boosters should be given. The best thing to do is to contact the Health Department or your health care provider for guidance.”

Help in paying for the cost of vaccines is available through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program when there is no health insurance coverage. For more information follow the “Immunization” link on the DHD No. 10 website at www.dhd10.org. Or call your local Health Department office: Crawford Co: (989) 348-7800, Kalkaska Co: (231) 258-8669, Lake Co: (231) 745-4663, Manistee Co: (231) 723-3595, Mason Co: (231) 845-7381, Mecosta Co: (231) 592-0130, Missaukee Co: (231) 839-7167, Newaygo Co: (231) 689-7300, Oceana Co: (231) 873-2193, Wexford Co: (231) 775-9942.