Students Need 2 Chickenpox Shots
July 31, 2013
Vivian Sade, The Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne – A new state regulation will require students of all ages who are entering school this fall to have had two doses of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine or show proof of having had the disease.
The requirement was issued by the Indiana State Department of Health after multiple outbreaks of chickenpox were reported across the state last year. Students from kindergarten through fifth grade will need to have their history of chickenpox disease documented by a health care provider, while verification of older students may be done by their parents.
“The newest part of the recommendation is now everyone will be required to have the two shots, and this will capture the third- to fifth-graders that have not had two shots,” said Dr. Deb McMahan, health commissioner at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department.
“According to the school nurses, there are not many who have not had both shots already,” she said.
“The varicella vaccine is very effective,” McMahan said. “It prevents about 4 million cases of chickenpox a year.”
Allen County has seen an increase in chickenpox in the last few years, but no major outbreaks as in other parts of the state, she said. “Locally, we’ve seen it go from four or five cases a year to 12 or more,” McMahan said.
Some parents who think it’s better for their children to get the disease and build up a natural immunity may not be aware of the serious complications caused by chickenpox, McMahan said.
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