With back-to-school supplies already lining the shelves in some stores and classes scheduled to begin in six weeks for most area schools, one thing that may not be on the mind of students or their parents are the back-to-school vaccinations required for students.
This year the State of Missouri is requiring all students who are entering the eighth grade and those who will be seniors to have a MCV (Meningococcal vaccine).
“The state recently added some new requirements for immunizations for students in the eighth grade and those who will be seniors this year,” said Pat Sturgiss, head of health services for the Sedalia School District 200. “If we don’t have proof that they have received the vaccinations they won’t be able to start school this fall.
“One meningococcal vaccine is required for all eighth-graders and seniors must have two doses of the shot unless they received the first dose when they were 16 years old or older, then they only need one dose,” she explained. “Eighth grade school students are also required to have a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis [whooping cough]) vaccine this year.”
Sturgiss said that when Sedalia 200 offered sports physicals earlier this year the vaccinations were available but only 40 students took advantage of the opportunity to receive the shots.
“We had a few students who got the shots when we offered them,” Sturgiss said. “But when you consider that we have more than 600 students in the two grades who need them, we have a way to go. It’s always a challenge, and I’m certain that some of the students have gotten the vaccines but just need to get the paperwork turned in so we can update it into our system.
“The Pettis County Health Center has the vaccines available but an appointment is required before they can be given,” she added. “Some doctors carry the vaccines and I’ve been told others may not have them so it is best if the parents check with their family’s health care provider if they have questions.”
Sturgiss also added that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website has a complete listing of the 2016-17 school immunization requirements for all school-aged children.
“We’ll provide a complete, health history for all of our students at our back to school nights so parents can make sure their children are up to date on everything,” Sturgiss said. “The building nurses will be back on Aug. 17 and records can be dropped off then, prior to the start of school.”
Open enrollment at Smith-Cotton High School is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 10 and 11.
Smith-Cotton Junior High will host open enrollment from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 11 and 12 and students are encouraged to bring their proof of immunization at that time.
The first day of school for students in the Sedalia 200 School District is Aug. 25.
For individuals who would like to schedule an appointment at the Pettis County Health Center for the vaccinations, call 827-1130.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.