School districts around Kentucky have been warning parents that students won’t be able to start the upcoming school year if they don’t follow the new hepatitis A vaccine requirements.
A new state regulation says all Kentucky students, preschool through grade 12, must provide proof that they have received the hepatitis A vaccine. Two doses are required, and they have to be administered six months apart.
Initially, it was thought that both doses needed to be given before a student could start the new school year. However, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) said a temporary certificate can be issued until the second dose is due, so no one should miss school because they haven’t gotten the second vaccine.
The new regulations are effective for the school year beginning on or after July 1, 2018. If your child hasn’t received the first dose, they need to visit a doctor soon.
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“My experience with the school system is that they check immunization forms pretty closely,” said Jeffrey K. Burton, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Associates – Fern Creek. “Children who need the first dose need to get it ASAP.”
Fortunately, many students could already be vaccinated and not know it. Because the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for infants at 12 and 18 months, many Kentucky kids may have already received both doses.
“Some patients simply need to have their immunization records updated,” Dr. Burton said. “If you have access to your child’s MyNortonChart record, you can check his or her vaccine status. If you’re still not sure, check with your pediatrician. They also can provide an updated immunization form to give to the school.”
All students age 16 or older also must have two doses of the meningitis vaccine. JCPS officials said if you have not already taken your child to his or her health care provider to have these updates done, do so before school starts in August.
Norton Children’s Medical Associates has been very busy getting the information together for parents to either pick up an updated immunization certificate or get children scheduled for checkups and immunizations. Practices are keeping a close watch on supply, and some have increased the order to accommodate a rush.