2004-09-03 / Columnists

DOH Reminds Parents That Kids Need Immunizations

With the beginning of the school year approaching - the first day of school is Monday, September 13 - the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and the Department of Education (DOE) today reminded medical providers and parents with school-age children that all students must meet school immunization requirements before they can be admitted to school or day care. 

Additionally, all children who are newly entering daycare, nursery school, pre-school or pre-K, and kindergarten through the 12th grade must show proof of having received a complete medical evaluation.

“A complete schedule of immunizations is not just important for ensuring the health of our children - it’s also the law,” said Dr. Roger Platt, Assistant Commissioner for the City’s Bureau of School Health, which is jointly run by DOHMH and the DOE. 

“Parents should consult with their child’s physician to find out if their child’s immunizations are up to date.  As some diseases can spread easily in school settings, getting your child vaccinated is critical to preventing childhood illnesses.”

Dr. Stephen Friedman, Associate Commissioner for DOHMH’s Bureau of Immunizations, said, “These vaccines protect students against a number of diseases, protecting their health and allowing them to focus on their school work. 

Parents and physicians are strongly urged to familiarize themselves with vaccination requirements. 

We also remind those who don’t have health insurance that free or low-cost options are available, so that every child can get immunized.”

As parents and children prepare for school, children are required to receive a series of vaccinations to protect against childhood diseases, including diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), polio, hepatitis B, pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chicken pox) and tetanus. 

In addition: All students - not just new enrollees attending school who were born on or after January 1, 1998 must have received one dose of varicella (chicken pox) vaccine. 

As of September 2004, all children entering grades 7 through 11 - and all students born on or after January 1, 1993 (generally students in kindergarten through sixth grade) must have the full series of hepatitis B vaccines. Children who do not meet the immunization requirements may not be admitted to school. 

Parents and caregivers should discuss their school-age child’s immunization requirements with their family physician prior to the start of the school year. 

Additionally, they may call 311 or visit the Health Department’s website for full details about school immunization requirements or call 311.

If your child is under 19 years old and is uninsured, he or she may be eligible for free or low-cost insurance through Child Health Plus. 

Visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/hia/ html/children.html for more information or call 311.

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