Time to schedule vaccinations before school bells ring

Colorado law requires children attending public school to be immunized against tetanus, diptheria and pertussis, or complete paperwork that exempts them from the shot, said Mesa County School District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee.

Students entering kindergarten and sixth grade this fall are required to have the vaccine known as Tdap, McGee said.

For sixth-graders, this is an additional requirement, even if the child was current on vaccinations at the beginning of kindergarten, Mesa County Health Department Communications Manager Veronica Daehn Harvey said.

“We believe immunizations help keep the community safe and we don’t want anyone to get sick,” Harvey said.

“Healthy kids come to school and learn. Sick kids don’t,” McGee said.

School officials require parents to provide updated immunization records at school registration and throughout the year when a child receives an additional vaccine.

Exemption forms are available at school offices for families who choose not to vaccinate their children.

Children will not be turned away on the first day of school if their paperwork is not up to date, McGee said.

“There’s a little bit of flexibility, but shortly after school starts, staff will begin communicating with families” to help them get their immunization paperwork in order, McGee said.

Families have several options of where to go.

Tdap vaccines will be available at the IntelliTec Resource Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, IntelliTec College, 722 Horizon Drive. No appointment is necessary.

The Mesa County Health Department also offers Tdap vaccines at the Community Services Building, 510 29 1/2 Road, and at Community Services West, 215 N. Plum St. in Fruita. To schedule an appointment, call 248-6900.

Cost is $14.50 per immunization for children 18 and younger, but the fee may be waived if a family is unable to pay.

Parents can also take children to their regular health care provider for the shot.


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