The first day of school is approaching and a new Minnesota state rule regarding vaccination requirements requires that all students entering 7th grade must show that they have received the T-dap vaccination as well as a bacterial meningitis vaccine.
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Why The New Vaccination Requirements?
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) proposed the new requirements and, in 2013, Gov. Mark Dayton approved them. The reason behind the new requirements is to have the state in line with recommendations from the CDC and other public health groups.
Minnesota saw an increase of whooping cough that peaked in 2012 with almost 5,000 cases reported according to the state’s health records. However, this year only 562 incidents have been reported.
TDap Vaccination, Effective?
The whooping cough vaccine is designed to give immunity against the highly contagious illness to those who receive it.
However, it is believed that outbreaks of the infection tend to occur in three- to – five year cycles due to the vaccine only being effective for a short time.
Lynn Bahta, immunization clinical consultant for the health department, said “The new requirement to vaccinate middle-school student should mitigate our peaks, but won’t prevent them. We have the vaccine itself to blame for that. ”
Although the illness is rarely fatal, it should be treated. Symptoms include:
- Runny Nose
- Prolonged coughing
- High pitched “Whoop” sound during next breath of air.
- Apnea – a pause in breathing (in infants)
Other Vaccination Requirements Proposed By MDH
An immunization for the cancer causing human papillomavirus (HPV) is also recommended for students beginning at age 11.
Minnesota also has seen isolated bacterial meningitis outbreaks, especially teenagers and college students living in dormitories.
Students in 8th through 12th grades must show proof of vaccination at their school’s request. However, parents who do not want their child vaccinated must provide schools with notarized medical or philosophical exemption forms.
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