Back to School: Are Your Child’s Immunizations Up to Date?

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Students will be headed back to school next month, which means they will need updated proof of state-required immunizations. Elaine Cudnik, APRN with Renown Children’s Hospital, explains what parents need to know.

An immunization (or vaccination) shot protects your child from disease. This preventative measure has revolutionized the ability to create immunity to serious infections that can cause complications or fatalities in children. As a result, children have escaped measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, polio, tetanus and diphtheria, along with their consequences.

School starts on Monday, Aug. 6 for Washoe County School District students. Nevada State Law requires students to be immunized for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); varicella, unless they have had chickenpox; hepatitis A and hepatitis B; and polio.

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This includes students enrolling for the first time in a Nevada public school — children entering preschool, kindergarten or transferring from a private school.

Immunizations: What You Need to Know

Students entering seventh grade in the Washoe County School District are required to show proof of Tdap immunization, which provides extra protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

Nevada also requires the meningococcal vaccine in addition to Tdap for all 7th graders and new students entering grades 7-12. Students younger than 23 years old enrolling as freshmen in Nevada universities also must show proof of receiving the meningococcal vaccine after age 16.

Vaccinations can result in minor side effects in some children. Common side effects include pain, redness, tenderness at the injection site and flu-like symptoms.

Discuss any concerns you may have about vaccinating your child with your health care provider. In very rare cases such as significant allergies or defective immune systems, vaccinations may not be recommended.

Vaccines for years have been studied for serious side effects, and scientific evidence has debunked rumors such as vaccines causing autism or SIDS. The physician responsible for the fraudulent article suggesting the autism link lost his medical license for having falsified data.

WCSD offers exemptions for families who wish to opt out of immunizations for religious and/or medical reasons. For a religious exemption, a parent or guardian must submit a written statement to the WCSD Board of Trustees, as well as the child’s school nurse or clinical aid indicating that immunizing the student is contrary to their religious beliefs. For a medical exemption, a written statement or prescription from the child’s physician must be submitted to the Board of Trustees and the school nurse or clinical aid.

If you have any questions about vaccination requirements or want to find out if your child’s vaccinations are up-to-date, check with your child’s pediatrician and/or school.

Learn more about immunization services and clinics at Renown.org. Immunize Nevada also provides a statewide list of clinics and providers.

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