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Don't Wait Vaccinate

It’s Back-to-School time, and the Departments of Health and Education are reminding parents to make sure their children’s vaccinations are up-to-date before the first school bell rings. ​

Why are vaccines important?
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) can cause coughing that lasts 10 weeks or more, giving it the nickname “the 100-day cough.”
  • Due to lowered vaccination rates, the United States saw the highest number of measles outbreaks in 2014 than it had since the disease was eradicated in the U.S. in 2000.
  • The bacteria that causes tetanus is not only transmitted via bite or puncture; it is also commonly found in soil.

For these reasons and more, it is critical to protect children against the preventable diseases that can cause absences, disruptions, and serious illness.

As part of the “Don’t Wait. Vaccinate.” campaign, the departments are offering statewide clinics from August 10-21 to provide immunizations at little or no cost for children who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, underinsured, American Indian or Alaska Native. Families above income guidelines can take advantage of these clinics for just $5 per child, but no child will be turned away because of an inability to pay.

Children in grades K-12 need the following immunizations for attendance: tetanus, diphtheria, polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), hepatitis B, and chickenpox. Children entering the seventh grade also need additional immunizations of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV) and tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap).

For more information about the clinics and how to register, visit www.dontwaitvaccinate.pa.gov or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).