Important Changes for School Vaccines for Fall 2017

It’s hard to think about the back-to-school rush when summer vacation just started, but…

…this year, there are some important changes to Pennsylvania’s vaccine requirements that you’ll want to know about, and act on, as soon as possible, so that your child will be able to start school on time in the Fall.

The required vaccines have not changed, but the flexibility for providing proof of those vaccines has changed drastically:

Children starting Kindergarten must show proof of vaccination within the first 5 days of school, or they will not be allowed to continue.

Children in 7th & 12th grades must show proof by the first day of school, or they will not be allowed to continue.

The vaccine requirements align with our standard vaccine schedule, which is based upon extensive scientific research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The CDC/AAP schedule allows for some flexibility of when certain doses are administered.

NEW KINDERGARTEN OPTIONS
Because we split the pre-school vaccines between the 4- & 5-Year Well Visits, we will need to pay special attention to our 5-year-olds who will be starting Kindergarten.

If your child’s 5-Year Well Visit will be AFTER the start of school, we will either need to move that check-up to before school starts (if your health insurance will allow that), or bring your child in this summer for a vaccine-only visit, to make sure he/she has the necessary vaccines to start Kindergarten on time.

If you’re registering your child for Kindergarten now, but will have your 5-Year Well Visit before the start of school, then you will meet the requirements. Just tell them when you register that you will get those vaccines at the upcoming check-up.

If you would like to give all of the pre-school vaccines at the 4-Year Well Visit, to avoid hassles around this issue at Kindergarten registration next year, we can do that too.

NEW 7th & 12th GRADE OPTIONS
The vaccines required for 7th grade are typically given at the 11-Year Well Visit. The 12th grade vaccines are given at the 16-Year Well Visit. As long as your child is up to date on those visits and vaccines, you should not have any problems meeting the new school requirements.

OTHER OPTIONS
If there is some medical reason your child cannot complete the required vaccines on-time, the school will require you to have us complete a form that outlines the expected time plan for completion. You’ll need to submit that completed form so your child can continue in school. (If your child will complete their vaccines before school starts, you DO NOT need to do this.)

If you have a Kids Plus Patient Portal account — and if not, we highly recommend it! — you can print a copy of your child’s vaccine records anytime.

Change can be confusing, but these are good changes, aimed at making sure we keep all of our children safe, healthy, and ready to learn. And we’re here to help in any way we can.

As always, if you have any questions, just give us a call in the office!

Dr. Sarah Springer, who sees patients at our Sq. Hill/Greenfield office, is one of the physician owners of the practice.