New immunization deadlines could cause problems for parents

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PITTSBURGH - Pennsylvania students who wait to get vaccinated could find themselves unable to attend school, state and local officials warned this week.

The state enacted new immunization guidelines this school year that now mandate several extra shots. These guidelines follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Students who were not up-to-date were given an eight-month grace period last fall, a deadline which is quickly approaching depending on the start date of your school district.

The new regulations require children in all grades to receive a second dose of mumps vaccine and a second dose of chicken pox vaccine. Students in seventh grade also must have one dose of meningitis vaccine, and one dose of the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis inoculation. The shots must be appropriately spread out.

Statewide, about 15 percent of kindergarteners and 24 percent of seventh-graders were not up to date as of October, according to the state Health Department.

Several health departments are offering free immunization clinics during the week of April 9. Students will need to be registered by March 30.  To register for an appointment in your area, visit www.padohclinicappt.com.

The Allegheny County Health department told Target 11's Robin Taylor that they offer free vaccines for children at their facility at 3441 Forbes Avenue.

To review the regulations, visit www.health.state.pa.us/immunizations.