The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reminding parents of North Carolina middle school students to be aware of recent changes to immunization requirements, effective for this school year. Children not up-to-date on these vaccinations will have 30 days from the start of school to be inoculated before facing suspension.
- Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV) – (protects against meningitis)
- Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (whooping cough) Vaccine (Tdap)
“Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death,” said Megan Davies, M.D., Acting State Health Director and Chief of DHHS’ Division of Public Health’s Epidemiology Section. “They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but they also help protect the entire school community by reducing and preventing the spread of infectious diseases.”
Vaccine requirements are monitored by your child’s school, whether it is public, charter, private or religious. The school must report the immunization status of 7th graders in their school each year. The only exemptions to immunizations allowed in North Carolina are valid medical or bona fide religious exemptions.
The 6th grade Tdap immunization requirement was changed to 7th grade to allow for simultaneous administration of the Tdap, MCV and HPV vaccines as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. If you child received the 6th grade Tdap last year, they do not have to get another, as only one dose is required.
Vaccines are available through your doctor’s office or local health department. If you child is insured, insurance typically covers the cost of the vaccines. If your child is eligible for Medicaid, has no health insurance, or has health insurance which does not cover the cost of the vaccine, he or she is eligible to receive the vaccinations from the state at no cost.
Contact your doctor to schedule your vaccination or to verify that your child has already received the vaccination. Be sure that the doctor provides you with a shot record (also known as Certificate of Immunization) as this must be provided to your child’s school to show proof of vaccination.
Other recommended vaccines for 11-12 year old children include Hepatitis A, HPV, Flu and a second dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. While these are not required, they are strongly recommended for adolescents.
Forsyth County residents can get the shots from Clinic 3 at the Forsyth County Department of Public Health located at 799 N. Highland Avenue, Winston-Salem, during the following hours:
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 8:30am-3:45pm
The immunization clinic is a walk in clinic and does not require appointments. Children with no insurance or Medicaid pay no out of pocket fee for immunizations. They do not accept credit cards or private insurance.