PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As the long days of summer are coming to an end, it’s time for students to head back to school.
Now, there are new vaccination requirements for students who attend school in Pennsylvania.
“They came from our state health department, so our state health department oversees our county health department,” said Rae-Ann Green, Director of Health Services for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
She oversees all of the school nurses who work at each of the 54 campuses in the school district.
“We have sent letters through our district to all incoming seventh, kindergarten and 12th graders,” added Green.
Students must have four doses of the TDap Vaccine, four does of the Polio Vaccine, two doses of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), three doses of Hepatitis B, two doses of Varicella (chickenpox), or evidence of immunity.
Students entering 12th grade must have an additional booster for meningitis.
Green told KDKA’s Lisa Washington, “There is an additional dose for 12th graders for the meningococcal vaccine. The other vaccines haven’t changed, it’s just the timeframe on which they receive them that has changed.”
The new health policy takes effect today, Aug. 1. Most school health administrators say it’s not that students don’t have the vaccinations, it’s showing proof to the schools that they have been vaccinated.
If students don’t have the required vaccinations, they can get a five-day provisional waiver – a much shorter timeframe than the previous eight-month window.
“If they don’t have proof of the immunization brought to school within those five days, then they must have a note from a physician, a plan of when they will get the immunizations,” Green said.
The vaccinations requirements are for all students unless they have documented exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
For a detailed explanation of the vaccination rules, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website here.