Tennessee’s seventh-graders will need additional shots
Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 10:19 am
By: The Associated Press
The Messenger 07.02.10
By LUCAS JOHNSON II
Associated Press Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — Seventh-graders across the state will be required to have two additional immunization shots before returning to school in the fall.
The Tennessee Department of Health recently announced new immunization requirements and a new immunization certificate students will need.
The two vaccines seventh-graders must have are the tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster and a second dose of the varicella, or chicken pox, vaccine.
Brian Todd, spokesman for the Nashville Public Health Department, said the state Health Department is following recommendations by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the case of the varicella vaccine, Todd said CDC officials noticed that children who had taken the vaccine at an early age were getting it in their teen years.
“What they found over the years was that a second booster was needed because there were some children who had received that vaccine when they were very young, and when they get to the teenage years they were seeing kids that had been vaccinated previously with chicken pox,” he said.
As for the new certification, Todd said new immunization certificates will have to reflect the new shots “even though people may have children in school that have an existing shot record.”
To promote the changes, school and health officials in Nashville are planning a special immunization clinic this month for any area seventh-grader. They’re expecting the changes to affect as many as 5,300 students in that grade.
“We’re just trying to make sure from our standpoint that families are aware that there are changes in the immunization requirements for the state and also how that immunization information is provided to school districts, so that they will be ready when school starts back,” said Olivia Brown, spokeswoman for Metro Nashville schools.
The Metro Health Department will also offer its annual weeklong Back to School Fast Track immunization clinic in August for school age children who need required immunizations.