State plans changes to immunization requirements

Doug Carder / Staff Photo

Wendy Wright, Osawatomie USD 367 nurse, talks about revisions to immunization requirements, as outlined by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, starting with the 2019-2020 school year.

OSAWATOMIE — The state is instituting some changes in what immunizations will be required for students, starting with the 2019-2020 school year, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Osawatomie USD 367 nurse Wendy Wright said in an email that changes expected for the 2019-2020 school year are as follows:

• Kindergarten and first-grade students will now be required to have two doses of Hep A. The difference is that it was previously only recommended for kindergarten and first-grade students, but now will be required, Wright said. Previously it was only required for daycare and preschools, she said.

Wright said she doesn’t foresee too many difficulties with this change since many students already have had it after attending preschool.

• Seventh- and eleventh-graders will now be required to receive the meningococcal vaccine.

Wright said eleventh-graders may show some reluctance to the change but it is to their advantage to get the vaccine.

“It’s required before entering dorms at college, but the recommended start age was 11 years old,” Wright said.

A hearing regarding the proposed immunization changes for individuals attending schools, child care facilities, preschools or child care programs operated by a school will take place June 27 in Topeka, according to KDHE.

“It is expected that these changes will go into play in July,” Wright said.

Based on the implementation schedule that can be found on KDHE’s website, these particular immunizations will continue to be required for additional grades in the future as well, Wright said in an email.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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