Officials Urge Parents to Check Students’ Shot Records
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2009 Department of Defense Education Activity officials are reminding parents to review their children’s immunization records to ensure they’re up to date by the first day of the school year.
“Updating students’ immunizations is an important part of back-to-school preparations,” said Mary Patton, chief of the activities’ Pupil Personnel Services branch. “We want all students to be ready to learn, and in order for them to be ready to learn, they need to be healthy.
“Requiring children to be immunized protects the rest of the school, and the staff and other families as well,” she added.
All the usual childhood vaccinations are required including those used to protect against measles, mumps and rubella, polio and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
The DoDEA Immunization Requirements Form, available on the activity’s Web site, includes a list of required immunizations for students enrolled in an activity school.
“The one vaccine that we don’t require right now … is the HPV [to prevent] cervical cancer,” Patton said. “The reason for that is pretty simple. It’s not a communicable disease in schools.”
If a school nurse notifies a principal that a student is not up to date on immunizations, the principal will send a letter to the student’s parents informing them. Students won’t be allowed to attend school until they have received the needed immunizations or an appointment is scheduled to receive them.
Military treatment facilities provide students with needed immunizations, and parents can coordinate with their child’s physician to obtain the required vaccinations prior to the start of the school year. If required vaccines are temporarily unavailable, the military treatment facility will notify the school superintendent, and students will be allowed to attend school until the vaccine becomes available.
Students may attend school without being immunized due to religious beliefs.
“Parents can write a letter,” Patton said. “They don’t have to give us their religious beliefs, but [just say] that they do believe it is against their religion.”
The minute there’s a outbreak of anything, though, children who have not been immunized have to be sent home, she added. The same is true of those children who have a medical waiver for immunizations, Patton said.