HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The time to go back to school is coming soon, and that may require a trip to the doctor’s office for some kids.
This spring, the Pennsylvania Department of Health put forth a new rule requiring students be up to date on all vaccinations by day five of the school year. Otherwise, they may not be allowed at school.
More than 95 percent of kids in Pennsylvania are up to date. But to address those who aren’t, the DOH’s new rule goes into effect in August.
Kids must show records of their vaccinations within the first five days of school. Administrators will be looking at kindergarten, 7th and 12th graders whose vaccine dosage requirements were also updated this year.
“Students would be excluded or not even permitted to attend school if they’re not fully immunized or don’t have a letter from their healthcare provider saying there is an immunization plan in place,” Tom Burnheimer, the West Shore School District Director of Pupil Services, said.
There are exceptions for students who cannot or choose not to get vaccines, but that also needs to be put on paper by day five.
“It can be dangerous in certain patient populations for a variety of reasons. One is that it decreases our herd immunity. Herd immunity you get just by everyone around you being vaccinated,” Pediatrician Dr. Kylie Murray said of students who don’t get vaccinated.
Dr. Murray adds that some students cannot be vaccinated for health reasons, and negligence is especially harmful to them.
If you need to make an appointment, doctors suggest doing it soon because their schedules are filling up prior to the school year.