New Law IN PA Vaccination Compliance Deadline To Become Effective April 30.
Immunization Requirements Apply to ALL Students K-12
Norristown, PA – February 15, 2012 –The Montgomery County Immunization Coalition (MCIC), reminds families and healthcare providers about the approaching deadline to comply with new legislation in PA concerning student vaccines. This law concerns immunization and mandates that all children in grades K-12 must be in compliance or face suspension from school by April 30th in most Montgomery County School Districts. Its implementation can potentially impact families, medical practices and health care centers throughout Montgomery County. Many school districts have made it clear that this new legislation regarding student immunizations will be enforced and those children not in compliance will face suspension.
Michael Harkness, MD, Chief of General Pediatrics, Main Line Health, relates the significance for parents. “As pediatricians, we hope that most of the children involved are vaccinated, and simply haven’t gotten the necessary records to the school. But we do fear that some children are still incompletely vaccinated. Parents need to understand that getting their children immunized is just as much a safety issue as getting them a good bike helmet and putting them in car seats. It is the best way to safely protect themselves and others from dangerous infectious diseases that are still in our community”.
This year, state law requires that children in all grades receive a second dose of mumps vaccine as well as a second dose of varicella (chickenpox)
The changes to the school law were made to more closely match the recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MCIC promotes these immunization recommendations and believes in the necessity of immunizations in maintaining good health, regardless of age. This new legislation in Pennsylvania strengthens support of one of the most popular trends in health care today – prevention. Regardless of age, immunizations are at the forefront of maintaining good health and preventing disease. This new law will ultimately have great impact on an individual student’s health as well as avoid potential outbreaks in schools and neighborhoods.
Kalyn Roberts, RN, BSN Montgomery County Health Department’s Immunization Coordinator, is concerned about this upcoming compliance deadline. “All healthcare providers and parents need to be aware that their patients and children must be up-to-date on their immunizations by the April 30th deadline or they will face suspension. Many school districts have informed me that on the exclusion date, which varies between school districts, non-compliant children’s parents will be called and told to pick their child up and that they will be suspended until the needed vaccinations are obtained. It appears that the majority of non-compliance is due to the second varicella (chickenpox)
The Montgomery County Health Department has already started ordering additional varicella vaccine and has added clinics and appointments in March and April to accommodate students who do not have a healthcare professional or insurance. Vaccinations can be obtained through private healthcare providers, some local pharmacies, and at the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD). MCHD’s health centers can provide immunizations to those without a healthcare provider or insurance.
Montgomery County Immunization Coalition (MCIC) is a diverse group which consists of healthcare professionals in the private and public sector, social service agencies, and community members working together toward a common goal. All members fully embrace MCIC’s Mission: Promoting age appropriate immunizations across the lifespan of all residents of Montgomery County.
For information about MCDH, please visit www.health.montcopa.org. To contact healthcare centers in Montgomery County, the following centers may be reached: Norristown (610) 278-5145, Pottstown (610-970-5040 or Willow Grove (215-784-5415 for an appointment. Private healthcare practitioners and some pharmacies can be contacted for vaccinations, as well.
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