Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pa. vaccine deadline extended!

If you're a Pennsylvania parent still scrambling to schedule catch-up vaccines for your kids before your school district's May deadline, you can relax - a little. The state Department of Health just added a two-week grace period.

Pa. vaccine deadline extended!

Whew! If you’re a Pennsylvania parent still scrambling to schedule catch-up vaccines for your kids before your school district’s May deadline, you can relax – a little. The state Department of Health just added a two-week grace period.

The new rules gave parents eight months from the start of school to make sure kids and teens are up-to-date on vaccines. For most families, that meant a May deadline that would end sometime this week. After that, the rules say kids might not be able to attend school.

About 2,300 kids got caught up during free vaccine clinics held by the state in early April; many more took advantage of county clinics as well. But according to Dr. Eli N. Avila, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, many more aren’t ready.

The new regulations require children in all grades to receive a second dose of mumps vaccine as well as a second dose of the chicken pox vaccine, according to the health department. They also require students in seventh grade to have one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) and one dose of the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap).  The vaccines also need to be appropriately spaced apart to be considered valid.

School districts have the power to exclude students who aren’t vaccinated – or to give the OK to kids whose families can prove they’ve at least got a vaccination appointment scheduled. Get one by calling your pediatrician or dialing 1-877-PA HEALTH (877-724-3258) to be connected to your local state health center. Bring your child’s vaccine history along to the appointments. Exemptions are allowed for medical reasons verified by a healthcare professional, on religious grounds, or on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief.

For more information on vaccine rules, click here to go to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s immunizations page. 

About this blog
The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

If you have questions about your child's health, ask them here.

Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Sarah Levin Allen, Ph.D., CBIS Assistant Professor of Psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Temple University Hospital
Peter Bidey, D.O. Medical Director of Family Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAAAI, FACAAI Associate Professor of Medicine in division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at UC Davis
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist of The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Gary A. Emmett, M.D., F.A.A.P Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Magee DeFelice, M.D. Division Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Chief of Pediatric Emergency Services at Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Adolescent Medicine Specialist at Crozer-Keystone Health System
Jessica Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D Associate Professor in School Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, R.D. Registered Dietitian at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Emiliano Tatar, M.D. Pediatrician at Einstein Healthcare Network Roxborough Plaza
Jeanette Trella, Pharm.D Managing Director at The Poison Control Center at CHOP
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP Director of Integrated Health Care for American Psychological Association
Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D. Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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