Students Return To School Soon – Are They Immunized?

Starke County Health Nurse Frank Lynch

Students will be returning to the classroom in mid-August, so now is the time to schedule immunizations for your child.

Starke County Health Nurse Frank Lynch talks about immunizations needed for Kindergarten students.

“They will need their Kindergarten shots,” Lynch explained. “If they’re up to date on everything else, then they should be looking at only having to come in and get their tetanus and their polio boosters, their second MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and a second Varicella (chicken pox) if they haven’t had it already.”

Students in grade six and up also need certain immunizations.

“They need to have a tetanus booster, but it’s a TDAP instead of a DTAP, which is formulated for older children,” Lynch explained. “The state requires that the sixth graders and up get a meningitis vaccination. We’re catching those kids that were in between to make sure that they have their second varicella vaccination.”

Lynch said that he’s seen a decrease in immunizations in his office and he’s not sure why.

“I don’t know if it’s related to some changes the state made and who health departments can vaccinate through the VFC program, or if people are just sluggish in getting it done,” said Lynch. “A lot of times school starts and we’re two to three months into the school year and the schools are still fighting with a lot of parents as far as just trying to make sure they get their immunizations up to date for their kids.”

He explains the changes that were made with the state.

“Anyone that has insurance that covers vaccinations, they need to either go through their private doctor or find another means of getting their kids vaccinated,” Lynch explained. “Pulaski County picked up a state-offered solution which was a private company to bill insurance and provide the vaccine for those kids with insurance. ‘With insurance’ does not mean Medicaid. If you Medicaid, Hoosier Healthwise, or anything like that, you can still get vaccinations at local health departments.”

If you are eligible to get vaccinations for your child through the Starke County Health Department, call 772-9137 for an appointment. Appointments are preferred but not mandatory.