Immunizations required to enter school |

Immunizations required to enter school

DENVER – State health officials remind parents and guardians to make certain their children have had all the immunizations required for their age group before they return to school or enroll in preschool or school for the first time.

“Many children in Colorado are not receiving the vaccines they need prior to enrolling in school,” said Dr. Ned Calonge, the state’s chief medical officer. “Only 63 percent of children in Colorado are receiving their required immunizations when they’re supposed to. We can and must do better in order to prevent childhood diseases from returning in Colorado.”

Calonge said immunizations for the child’s age also are required for enrollment at a child-care center, beginning at two months of age.

The requirements include:

n Chicken pox (varicella): The requirement for this vaccine, which first became mandatory in Colorado in 2000, is being gradually phased in, although health officials recommend that the vaccine be administered to all children and youth up to the age of 18 who have not had the disease.

One immunization for chickenpox is currently required for children 18 months to 4 years of age for entrance into preschool and for children entering kindergarten, first, second and third grades. History from a parent or guardian that the child already has had the disease may be substituted for the immunization.

n Diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis: In general, a total of five doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine are required for students entering a Colorado school for the first time. The number of doses may vary, however, depending on the age at which the student received prior doses.

During the upcoming school year, children who missed previous doses of DtaP should receive their “catch-up” doses to assure they are fully protected.

n Hepatitis B: Three doses of this vaccine are required for preschool and all grades.

n Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib): This vaccine is a preschool requirement for children 5 years of age or younger but is not required for older children.

n Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR): In general, two doses of this vaccine are required for kindergarten and the first, second, third and seventh through 12th grades. One dose is required for grades four through six.

n Polio: In general, three doses of this vaccine are required for children entering preschool. Grade school, middle school and high school students entering a Colorado school for the first time are required to have four doses of this vaccine.

Colorado law permits schools to suspend students until receiving proof that the immunization requirements have been completed or are in process. The state’s schools also may deny attendance to students who do not present an immunization record at the beginning of school.

Parents are encouraged to consult with their health-care provider about immunizations.

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