Back to school immunizations are available


The Fayette County Health Department is reminding parents to bring children in for back to school immunizations and vaccines.

The health department is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for walk-ins or by appointments on Tuesday afternoons. Several shots are required for students before returning to school, which is very important, according to Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon.

“School immunizations are a state requirement for public schools, private schools and child care settings,” Cannon said. “Vaccines are important for preventing many communicable diseases and they have done such a good job of controlling diseases that parents sometimes forget just how important they are and what life would be like without them. Some diseases are becoming very rare because we have been vaccinating against them. Vaccinations are one of the best ways to end the serious effects of certain diseases.”

The seventh grade requirement is a T-DAP, which includes the following, taken from the fact sheet from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Tetanus, which is caused by a toxin (poison) made by bacteria found in soil. The bacteria enter the body through cuts, scratches, or puncture wounds in the skin. Tetanus can cause spasms, which are painful muscle cramps in the jaw muscle (lockjaw) and throughout the body. The spasms can cause breathing problems and paralysis. A preteen or teen with tetanus could spend weeks in the hospital in intensive care. As many as one out of five people who get tetanus die.

Diphtheria is not as common as tetanus but can be very dangerous. It spreads from person to person through coughing or sneezing. It causes a thick coating on the back of the nose or throat that can make it hard to breathe or swallow. It can also cause paralysis and heart failure. About one out of 10 people who get diphtheria will die from it.

Pertussis (whooping cough) spreads very easily through coughing and sneezing. It can cause a bad cough that makes someone gasp for air after coughing fits. This cough can last for many weeks, which can make preteens and teens miss school and other activities. Whooping cough can be deadly for babies who are too young to have protection from their own vaccines. Often babies get whooping cough from their older brothers or sisters, like preteens or teens, or other people in the family.

The kindergarten-required immunizations vary depending on the vaccine record of the child and what they are behind in up to that point. The health department requires a current immunization record be brought in, so they can determine what is needed.

“Ohio allows exemptions to the requirements for various reasons in which the parent can sign a waiver, however, exempt children are subject to school exclusion if a communicable disease outbreak would exist in their school or classroom,” Cannon said. “Parents are notified of this possibility during the time the waiver is signed.”

Cost is $10 for the first vaccine and $5 for each additional vaccine. The seventh grade T-DAP is $10. Parents can call with questions or to schedule an appointment at 740-335-5910.

School begins for Washington City Schools on Aug. 20 and Miami Trace Local Schools begin instruction on Aug. 24.

By Martin Graham

[email protected]

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy

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