The Tennessee Department of Health has changed and updated its immunization requirements for child care, pre-school, and school entry.
Cindy Childers, Assistant School Health Coordinator, says the effective date of most changes is July 2010. "For the first time in ten years the state has required different immunizations for children entering school plus the seventh grade. They're going to be on one form that is required by all schools by the state of Tennessee. The only place you can obtain that form is from your personal physician or the health department. We're not allowed to accept anything else but that specific form. Those forms will not be ordered or available to be ordered until April 1st and should be available at all health departments and our physicians offices by the first of July."
"During our registration for Pre-K and Kindergarten, we normally ask that parents bring those immunization records. This year, and for this year only, we are asking them not to bring them (records) then, and we will ask them to bring them (records)on the first day of school, because all of those forms should be obtainable by that time."
"The changes that we're seeing with the children are, the children in preschool and Pre-K, along with their ones that we already require, we are asking for an additional Hepatitis B, a Haemophilus type B or (Hib), which is actually for meningitis, and additional Pneumococcal, and an additional Hepatitis A. And those will be required for them to get into preschool, or any kind of daycare, basically. For Kindergarten, along with those that I have just mentioned, a new one that is going to have to be required is the second Varicella, which is actually the chicken pox shot. That, or you're going to have to show proof of somehow that your child has had an active case of chicken pox. Also, we're going to have to have another polio, and what's going to happen is, we're going to stretch the polio out. We used to have four doses by the time that they were three. Now, we would like that fourth dose on or after their fourth birthday if possible. And also, an additional Hepatitis A, that will bring them to two doses."
"Now, the big one is the seventh grade. Normally, children at the age of twelve are due another Tetanus shot, or (DTaP). That has not been required up until now. This year, it will be required in order to enter seventh grade. Also, along with that, you'll have to have verification of that second Varicella, which is the chicken pox shot. So that means that they will have two doses by the time they're in seventh grade. And actually, this will be their fifth Tetanus by the time they're in seventh grade. And both of those will be required upon entering seventh grade this year."
"As I've mentioned, kinda be patient with your physicians. I know that a lot of moms and dads get those physicals done early so that they don't have to wait until the last minute. Check with your health care provider, whether it be your personal physician or the health department. See when those forms are going to be available, and get those appointments that are going to be able to help you. Like I said, they're not going to be required at registration, but they will be required the first day that they come to school."