No grace period for students' immunizations - WSMV Channel 4

No grace period for students' immunizations

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The new school year is a few weeks away, and if you haven't already gotten your child's immunizations, you may want to get to it.

There are some changes this year. There is no grace period, and K-12 students and college students are facing new requirements.

Last year more than 1,000 students in Metro schools were dismissed in October because they hadn't received the proper vaccinations.

This year, if you don't know about the changes, your child may not make it to class on the first day of school.

Tennessee students have to have the proper vaccinations before they start kindergarten, seventh grade and college. They have to do it before the start of the school year or else risk being held out of school.

"The schools are required to have those immunizations on file and the schools may make decisions about keeping students out of school until they complete their immunizations, and don't have them in on time," said Dr. Kelly Moore with Tennessee's immunization program.

Kindergartners have to have two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccinations. They also have to have two doses of the chicken pox vaccine.

Seventh graders must now get the whooping cough vaccine plus a second dose of the chicken pox vaccine.

"We want to remind parents to get their children into the doctor's office or the health department this summer with plenty of time to get those shots before they start school in the fall," said Moore.

There's something new for college students this year.

For years they've had to get the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. This year they have to provide proof of immunity to chicken pox too.

Students who were born after 1979 either need to provide documentation that they've had chicken pox or they need to show they've had two does of the vaccine.

Now is the time to get your children vaccinated, not the day before school starts.

"The mistake parents often make is waiting until the last second to check with their doctor's office about getting the vaccines," said Moore.

The forms you need to fill out are available by clicking here.

There are a few exceptions to the rule, including if your child has a medical condition that makes getting vaccines dangerous for them or getting vaccinated is against your religion. In either case, the student must have documentation to prove it.

In Davidson County, to help with the immunization requirements for incoming kindergartners and seventh graders, Metro Schools has teamed up with the Metro Public Health Department for a special clinic.

Children can get all their immunizations for free at a clinic July 7 at Lentz Health Center.

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