Delaney Wells Published

W.Va. DHHR Reminds Parents Of Back To School Vaccinations

A group of young children, many with a hand raised, sit on the floor in front of a smiling, blonde woman wearing a light green sweater and holding a picture book in front of the group. The scene is set in front of shelves of books in the background.iStockphoto

Summer is coming to an end and officials at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) are reminding parents to keep their children up-to-date on vaccinations before going back to school. 

“As families, students, educators and county school systems prepare for the upcoming school year, it’s important for students to receive vaccinations before school starts to prevent potentially fatal or severe illnesses,” said Dr. Matthew Christiansen, commissioner for DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health and the State Health Officer. 

Students entering school in West Virginia for the first time in K-12 must show proof of immunization against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and hepatitis B. 

All children in grades 7 through 12 must show proof against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and meningococcal disease unless properly medically exempted. 

Dr. Lisa Costello, hospitalist at West Virginia University (WVU) Medicine Children’s Hospital and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said childhood immunizations are one of the most effective public health measures. 

“When [students] are going into school, they’re going to be around other children, and so being vaccinated and making sure you’re up-to-date on your vaccines are important so that children have the protections they need,” Costello said. 

Parents are encouraged to discuss their child’s vaccination status with their primary care provider or local health department. Children who are current with their vaccinations will automatically meet school immunization requirements. 

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