New back-to-school vaccination rules for some Maryland students

WASHINGTON — Parents getting kids ready for school in Maryland should realize there are new vaccination requirements for some students this year.

Students in kindergarten through fourth grade need two doses of the chickenpox vaccine. Also, students entering grades seven through 11 need Tdap and meningococcal vaccines.

“On the first day of school, your child needs to provide either proof of vaccination or some kind of a titer showing that you are immune against a disease,” said Kurt Seetoo, the immunization program manager at the Maryland Department of Health. “If they do not provide that kind of documentation, then they should be excluded from school on the first day.”

Health departments in D.C. and Virginia have made no changes this year, but offer universal advice encouraging parents to protect children and the community at-large by getting children vaccinated.

“Also, consider discussing other recommended vaccines for their child (that are not required) with their child’s health care provider,” said Christy Gray, director of immunization at the
Virginia Department of Health.

In the District, Health Department spokesman Ivan O. Torres notes that immunizations are covered under insurance.

“Different states have different requirements for what kinds of vaccines you should have before you go into school,” said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, while encouraging parents to go above and beyond what is legally required.

“Children should have all of the CDC-recommended vaccines before they go back to school,” Fauci said.

Fauci said failing to get children vaccinated is dangerous not only for the individual child, but for the community.

“For example, outbreaks have occurred particularly of infections like measles in communities in which the rate of vaccination goes down below a critical level — which could lead to the possibility of an outbreak. And, measles particularly can be a very serious disease,” Fauci said.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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