WI School Nurses Urge Early Vaccination for Children Heading Back to School
Scheduling immunizations now will help protect students and communities from disease and avoid expected rush as Wisconsin’s 1 million students prepare to return to school
The Wisconsin Association of School Nurses (WASN), representing more than 260 members statewide, today urged parents to plan ahead and have their children vaccinated early before sending them back to school. August is National Immunization Awareness Month.
“Wisconsin has been especially hard hit this year with whooping cough and measles outbreaks and we fully expect a busy time for doctors and nurses administering vaccinations statewide during late August, but we want people to know they should not wait until the last minute,” said Louise Wilson, president of WASN and Health Services Supervisor in the Beaver Dam Unified School District. “Getting kids in early for their updated immunizations helps remove some of the back-to-school stress that builds as the start of school nears. This year in particular, parents of children in kindergarten, 6th and 12th grades need to pay special attention to immunization requirements. Kindergartners will need additional doses of several vaccines, 6th graders will need Tdap (which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis [whooping cough]) and 12th graders who have not had chickenpox will need a second dose of varicella.”
WASN offers tips to make back-to-school vaccination preparation easy, including:
Check the Wisconsin Immunization Registry at http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/immunization/publicaccess.htm to review your child’s current immunization record.
Consult your family doctor on what vaccinations your child still needs and make an appointment soon.
Call your city or county health department to see if they have free immunization clinics in your area. Local school nurses also have this information and some schools even hold their own on-site vaccination programs during school registration.
Go to www.cdc.gov/vaccines to see additional facts from through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Wisconsin law requires K5 through 5th graders to be immunized within 30 days after school starts or they can be excluded from school for up to 10 days or the parent fined. Wisconsin requires children be vaccinated against chicken pox, measles/mumps/rubella, hepatitis B, polio and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus. Waivers are available for religious, personal or medical reasons. WASN indicates that while not required by state law, college and military bound individuals are also being encouraged to get an additional dose of the meningitis vaccine, which was originally administered only once to children.
“Vaccinations save lives and getting them done early this year will help keep everyone safe,” said Wilson.
The mission of WASN is to strengthen and support professional school nurses as leaders in building healthy school communities that promote a successful learning environment. For more information please visit www.wischoolnurses.org.