INDIANAPOLIS — Starting next school year, all children must receive two doses of varicella vaccine before entering school.
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced the vaccination requirements for school entry during the 2013-2014 a few weeks ago.
The one change from the current year’s requirements is that all students receiving one dose of varicella vaccine to two doses. For the current school year, two doses are required for entry into kindergarten through second-grade and sixth through 12th grade, according to Amanda Turney, spokesperson for the ISDH. Only one dose is required for entry into third through fifth grades.
Children can also prove immunity for entry into kindergarten or elementary school with a doctor’s statement, noting the month and year the child had varicella, more commonly known as chicken pox. A signed statement by a parent indicating the month and year the child had chicken pox is required for students in grades 6 through 12.
The two-dose requirement became standard in 2006, according to information on the ISDH website. Outbreaks continued to occur, however.
Turney said that there were five chicken pox outbreaks in Indiana in the past six months. Three were school-based outbreaks, she said.
Middlebury Community Schools experienced an outbreak of chicken pox in November and December 2011.
Families can opt children out of the vaccination requirements based on religious reasons or medical reasons, such as if a child is severely allergic to a component of a vaccine or has certain underlying medical conditions, Turney said.
The ISDH’s new requirements also recommend that children receive two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine before entering kindergarten and that students receive a booster dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine before entering 11th and 12th grades.
People can see the new set of requirements and proposed requirements for the 2014-2015 school year at www.in.gov/isdh/17094.htm.
According to the ISDH, the new requirements and recommendations are in alignment with the routine vaccination schedules from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.