Thursday, September 10, 2009

Required Vaccinations for K-12 Available

The Allegheny County Health Department is offering extra free clinics this month to help families get their children caught up on school vaccinations. Vaccines required for students in grades K-12 will be offered on Saturday, September 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Healthy For Life Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown Pittsburgh. Admission is free.

The Health Department also is offering extended hours into the evening on September 21, 22, 28 and 29 at its vaccination clinic in Oakland. The clinic, located at 3441 Forbes Avenue, will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and provide free parking after 4:30 p.m. in the lot behind 3333 Forbes Avenue on those dates.

The Oakland clinic’s regular hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesdays, 1 to 8 p.m. No appointment is necessary and parents should bring their child’s immunization records with them.

The new requirements for the 2009-2010 school year are vaccines against meningitis, chicken pox, and a combination vaccine called Tdap that prevents tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Health officials report students without proof of vaccination will be excluded from school, unless their parent obtains an exemption for religious or personal reasons. In the event of an outbreak, however, students with such an exemption can be legally barred from school in order to keep a disease from spreading.

Some schools have already started excluding unvaccinated students, while others are giving them until October 1, which is the ultimate deadline to comply.

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