New Immunization Requirements Take Effect
COLUMBIA- The Missouri Department of Health has made new vaccination requirements for school-aged children and teens, much to the dismay of needle haters.
Bree-Anna Holcomb, 14, sits in the waiting room of the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services nervously tapping her foot.
Adding insult to injury, not only is her summer vacation rapidly coming to and end, but in just a few moments, she will be subjected to the thing she fears the most, all for the sake of the institutional ball-and-chain that will soon drag her out of her summer bliss.
That's right, it's time for her to get vaccinated.
"[Needles] freak me out," said Holcomb, "there's something going into my skin that I don't want in my skin."
The Missouri Department of Health says anyone going into the eighth grade get a T-dap shot.
Bree-Anna's getting her shot on schedule, but a lot of younger children will be joining her. Traditionally, people were required to get this shot 10 years after they were initially vaccinated, typically the first dose came at age 4 or 5, and the second dose between 14 or 15. Now, after a national rise in pertussis cases among young teens, health officials feel earlier re-vaccinations are needed. So now 8th graders (12 -13 year olds) will be required to get the booster shot.
"This vaccine was developed to vaccinate older children to help prevent that waning immunity that they have from those early immunizations," said Trina Teacutter, Nursing Coordinator.
In addition to the T-dap, Teacutter said children entering kindergarten must get two varicella, or chicken pox, shots before the first day of school.
"There are a certain number of people that don't get protection from the first dose, so they're trying to catch those people who maybe didn't get enough protection the first time," said Teacutter.
There is an exception, children who have documented proof that they have already had chicken pox may forgo the second shot.