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Back to School: Vaccines required

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The first day of school of is just around the corner. Aside from uniforms, lunch money, and school supplies, a trip to the doctor may be on the agenda for your kids.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has reminded parents that state law requires kids to be immunized against childhood diseases to enter public or private school, Head Start or daycare.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 95 percent of parents nationwide choose to vaccinate their children, protecting them against potentially deadly diseases.

“There are many options for where to get your vaccinations now, including private medical providers and retail stores,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “Regardless of where you go, it’s incredibly important to make sure you’re up-to-date on your immunizations. Not only are certain vaccines required for school entry, they are also the best way to protect your child and those around them.”

Required vaccinations for children entering school in Mississippi for the first time include: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP); polio (IPV); hepatitis B; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); and varicella (chickenpox).

There is also a requirement for children entering seventh grade to receive the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccination.

Other vaccines, such as the human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) and a meningococcal vaccination (MCV4) are recommended for adolescents 11 to 15 years of age, but not required.  A meningococcal vaccination (MCV4) is recommended at age 16 to 18 years.

Parents must provide the school with a Certificate of Immunization Compliance (Form 121) from their immunization provider prior to school entry.

You may check with your physician or county health department if you have questions about which immunizations your child will need and check with your local county health department about the best dates and times to bring children in for immunizations.

For more information on immunization requirements or medical exemptions for school entry, visit

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