With school starting, the Oklahoma Health Department is urging parents to get their children all the mandated vaccinations.
“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to ensure a healthy future for their child,” said Dr. Terry Cline, Commissioner of Health. “If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs.”
Oklahoma law requires children to be up to date on vaccinations before enrolling or starting childcare or school. A schedule showing the vaccines required for childcare attendance is available on the OSDH web site at www.ok.gov./health.
Children entering kindergarten are due for boosters or second doses of the following vaccines:
- MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella)
- DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)
The second dose of chickenpox is recommended, but not required for school attendance.
Children who recently moved to Oklahoma may need hepatitis A vaccination. Hepatitis A vaccine, which is required for students in all grades in Oklahoma, is not required in some other states. Students need at least one dose of hepatitis A vaccine to start school. A second dose is due six to eighteen months later.
Protection from vaccines received during childhood can wear off with time and as children get older, they are at greater risk for different diseases like meningitis and septicemia, and infection with human papillomavirus which can lead to cancer.
Students in grades seven through 11 are required to have one dose of Tdap vaccine. Older students are strongly encouraged to receive a dose of Tdap vaccine if they missed it. Tdap protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Adolescents and adults need Tdap vaccine so they won’t contract whooping cough and infect babies and toddlers.
A meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV) offers protection against the devastating effects of meningococcal disease, which can cause death in less than 48 hours and leaves survivors with life-long problems such as brain damage or loss of arms and legs. Even with the best treatment, about one in 10 people who get meningococcal disease will die from it. A booster dose of MCV is recommended at age 16 and it is required for first-time college students who will live in on-campus student housing.
Parents of children with private health insurance or SoonerCare health insurance are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their regular health care provider or clinic to receive these vaccines. Children who do not have health insurance or whose insurance does not cover vaccines may receive vaccines required for school and childcare at county health departments throughout the state.