POLK COUNTY -- Parents will need to hustle kids into the doctor's office as two new immunizations are required for school this year.
One dose of hepatitis A is required by the first day of school for children entering child care, preschool, Head Start and kindergarten. A second dose is required 6 to 12 months after the first.
One dose of Tdap is required for seventh-graders if it has been at least five years since receiving their last tetanus vaccine. Students have until Feb. 18, 2009, to receive the Tdap immunization, but Stacy de Assis Matthews with the Oregon Department of Human Services recommends obtaining it by January so children are not placed on exclusion lists.
Matthews said Tdap protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). In the past couple of years there has been an increase in pertussis outbreaks among middle- and high-school students.
While it is now being required for older children, she said it will be phased into other grade levels in the future to protect the youngest, who are most in danger if infected.
As for hepatitis A, Matthews said the department has seen an increase up and down the west coast in the disease. Requiring the immunization will keep outbreaks down.
New Certificate of Immunization Status forms are available with spaces for these vaccines, or parents may simply write these immunization dates on old forms and sign them.
To print new forms or to obtain more information, visit the DHS Web page at www.oregon.gov.