District 51 to parents: Get kids immunized

By EMILY ANDERSON
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Nearly 10 percent of School District 51 students received a letter this summer telling them to get or update records of immunizations before school starts.

The district sent out more than 2,000 letters, and some parents already have responded with updated immunization records. The number of kids out of compliance with Colorado immunization laws may tick down even lower after 10th-grade registration, which takes place today through next week at area high schools.

Mesa County Health Department workers will offer Tdap vaccines for preventing tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis during sophomore registration for $14.50. The price can be reimbursed by most insurance carriers, including Rocky Mountain Health Plans, Medicaid/CHP+ and CNIC Health Solutions Inc. Students with parents who cannot afford the immunization can get it for free.

Tenth-grade registration begins today from 8 to 11 a.m. and 12 to 3 p.m. at Grand Junction High School. Central and Palisade high schools have registration from 7:30 a.m. to noon and 8 to 11 a.m. today, respectively. Fruita Monument High School registration for sophomores is from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 14.

Students who have not gotten all required vaccinations will have to get the immunization, prove they plan to get immunized, or have their parents sign a release explaining why they object to the shot, school district spokeswoman Christy McGee said.

Students new to the district will not be allowed to register for school until they get immunized or have their parents sign a release, McGee said.

Grand Valley kindergartners are required to get immunized for Tdap; measles, mumps and rubella; varicella; and polio. Students entering the sixth or 10th grade must be immunized for Tdap. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend school-age children also receive a hepatitis A vaccine and suggest students 11 and older get a meningococcal vaccine and, for girls, the human papillomavirus vaccine.

All of the above-mentioned immunizations are available at the Mesa County Health Department for $14.50 apiece for kids 18 or younger. Students also can get them from a primary-care physician.


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