The Duncan Banner


July 16, 2014

Students prepare for immunizations

DUNCAN —     With the end of summer in sight, it means immunization time for many students.

    Stephens County Health Department Regional Director Mike Milton said it is important for children and adolescents to receive vaccinations this year. While there have been no cases in Oklahoma, there have been recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in Texas and Kansas.

    “Now is the time for parents to check vaccine records and schedule appointments to vaccinate babies and toddlers and children entering kindergarten, the 7th grade or college,” Milton said.

    Children entering kindergarten are due for boosters or second doses of four vaccines:  MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine), Polio, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines) and chickenpox (varicella). Children who recently moved to Oklahoma may also need hepatitis A vaccinations.

    Students in grades 7 through 10 are required to have one dose of Tdap vaccine. Tdap protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). The vaccination will prevent the spread of whooping cough to babies and toddlers who have not been immunized.

    Dewy Ivey, Principal of Duncan Middle School, said the state and schools continue to be proactive in their campaign for healthier campuses. Last year, the middle school sent students home that had yet to receive their vaccinations.

    “With 700 - 800 students, we are going to have some sick students,” Milton said. “If others are not prepared with vaccinations, it could be very dangerous.”

    This year, Ivey finds himself in the same boat as he will be taking his own to daughter to get her shots.

    “It’s someting we all have to do,” he said. “It’s for the overall well-being of all the kids.”

    Parents and teens are strongly urged to talk to their health care provider about the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine and meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4). The HPV vaccine prevents most of the types of the virus that cause cervical and other cancers. The meningococcal vaccine is required for first-time college students who will live in on-campus student housing. All college students are required to have MMR and hepatitis B vaccines.

    Since vaccines are limited in supply at the health department clinic, Milton recommends parents of children with private health insurance or SoonerCare health insurance take their children to their regular health care provider to recieve these vaccines.

    “We are advising parents to schedule appointments with their health care provider now to skip the long lines that often form in clinics in August,” Milton said.

    The Stephens County Health Department hopes to have MCV4 and HPV available in the future for teens who have health insurance, Milton said.

    The Stephens County Health Department vaccination clinic is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8 - 11 a.m. and 1 - 4 p.m.

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