With the new school year here in many parts of the state, Indiana State Department of Health officials want Indiana parents to be aware of new immunization requirements for school entry.
All students in grades K-12 will be required to have a record documenting two valid doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine or documented history of chickenpox disease. Students from grades K-5 will need to have their history of chickenpox disease documented by a health care provider.
“We experienced multiple outbreaks of chickenpox around the state during the last school year,” said Joan Duwve, M.D., ISDH chief medical officer. “This new requirement will help stop the spread of this preventable disease and keep kids healthy and in school.”
Although not required for school entry, Duwve recommends that students also receive these immunizations if they haven’t already:
• Two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine
• Flu vaccine every year
• Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, three-dose series for all adolescents
• Booster dose of meningococcal conjugate (meningitis) vaccine for adolescents 16-18.
The requirements and recommendations are in alignment with the routine vaccination schedules from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. For a complete listing of all recommended immunizations, persons may visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/index.html.
Indiana school immunization requirements are posted on the ISDH Web site at www.state.in.us/isdh/17094.htm.
Hoosiers are encouraged to check their children’s vaccination records on www.MyVaxIndiana.in.gov, a user-friendly ISDH Web site that provides them direct access to their immunization records from any computer through the use of a personal identification number (PIN). Since MyVaxIndiana was launched in July 2012, nearly 30,000 PINs have been assigned and 4,619 unique records have been accessed from the site. PINs can be obtained from health care providers and used to log in to the secure site.
“The goal of the MyVaxIndiana site is to make it easier for all Hoosiers to access their immunization records,” said Duwve. “Parents can check what immunizations their child has already received and find out what may still be needed, as well as print, fax or e-mail an official copy of the record.”
HPV is explained Diane Turney, R.N., Franklin County Health Department supervisor, says, "I would like to touch on a certain vaccination available that has been given a bad name for some unknown reason …Gardasil or HPV. When I ask parents who bring their children into our office if they want them to have it, most will respond with a 'no.'" The nurse explains, "This vaccine is actually an anti-cancer vaccine. It helps prevent the spread of one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. It is estimated that there are currently 20 million persons affected with this virus and an estimated 6.2 million additional infections occur each year. A lot of women and men have these warts (caused by the papilloma virus) and do not even realize it .... "The best time to start this vaccination is when the children turn 11 before they become sexually active. Even if they do not have sex until they are in their 20s, or married or whatever, they will be protected from one of the most common causes of cervical cancer in women. This vaccine can also help prevent penile and anal cancer caused by the virus." Turney notes, "The vaccine has been around for four going on five years now and it has been shown to reduce the risk of contracting the virus by 90-93 percent." She emphasizes, "This vaccine is not a license to go have unprotected or premarital sex, but rather a vaccine to prevent cancer ... If you knew you could prevent cancer in your child, why wouldn't you?"