As children enter school, are their vaccines up to date? | Prairie Public Broadcasting

As children enter school, are their vaccines up to date?

Aug 23, 2016

With school starting, the North Dakota Health Department is reminding parents to make sure their children’s vaccines are up to date.

"When you;re in a school, you have a situation where a vaccine-preventable disease could be introduced," said Health Department Epidemiologist Lexie Barber. "If kids aren't up to date on their vaccinations, that disease can spread quickly throughout that school."

Barber said for children just entering school, they need 5 doses of D-TAP, for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; four doses of polio vaccine; three doses of hepatitis “B” vaccine; two doses of MMR, for measles, mumps and rubella; and two doses of chickenpox vaccine. Seventh graders need a vaccine for meningitis.

Barber said last year, 91 percent of incoming students received the required vaccines, and 84 to 85 percent of seventh graders received their shots.

"Once you get to 95 percent, you have 'community immunity,' or 'herd immunity,'" Barber said. "That way, because vaccines aren't 100 percent effective, you're still protecting the whole community. So we'd really like to see our vaccination rate get to 95 percent."

Barber said cost shouldn’t be a factor. She said if your child is uninsured, or your insurance does not cover vaccines, the child can receive the vaccine at no cost through the Vaccines for Children program.