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Everyone Was Properly Immunized -Newtown Students Roll Up Their SleevesSo The School Year Can Start Smoothly



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Everyone Was Properly Immunized –

Newtown Students Roll Up Their Sleeves

So The School Year Can Start Smoothly

By Tanjua Damon

There were no rejections of seventh graders as school began last week because of the lack of required immunizations by the state. Everyone was in compliance and ready to start the new school year.

State law requires now that all seventh graders have proof that they have had chicken pox or have received the vaccine for them and they have to have had the first injection of a series of three for Hepatitis (infection of the liver). The series must be complete before entering eighth grade.

School nurses Barbara Reilly and Joyce LaForte were pleased that their seventh grade parents completed the requirements and sent the students off to school ready.

“We were ready to go on the first day,” Ms Reilly said. “The parents worked hard and the doctors were busy.”

“In June, there were almost 200 entering seventh graders who hadn’t proven their immunizations,” Ms Reilly said. In August the number was just over 100, but by the time school started on August 30, all seventh graders had proof of the required immunizations on record.

Parents received a reminder if the school hadn’t received immunization proof, according to Ms Reilly. Even local doctors were sent notices to see if their records showed the immunizations had been completed to smooth the way for the first day of school.

“Our intention was not to get into that trauma,” Ms Reilly said. “Parents were very good and appreciated the reminder.”

The state makes the determination for what immunizations will be required in schools statewide, according to Thomas Draper, MD, MPH. He said the school nurses and parents worked hard and did a good job making sure students were ready to start the school year.

“We have an excellent school nursing program,” Dr Draper said. “It was a collaboration of school nursing and parents.”

Hepatitis B vaccinations are part of a plan in the United States to immunization everyone overall with Hepatitis B gradually, according to Dr Draper. With chicken pox, the more are vaccinated, the fewer people will break out with chicken pox. Chicken pox is more serious when a person is older, he said.

From a public health perspective, Mark Cooper, MPH, from the Newtown Health District said that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta looks at immunization policies each year and makes changes as new vaccines become available.

“There are changes every year,” Mr Cooper said. “As new vaccines come on line, such as chicken pox, they are incorporated.”

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