A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Public Health reminds parents, caregivers: Get vaccines for kids as school approaches

As students prepare to head back to school this month, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, reminds parents and caregivers to make sure children and teens are up-to-date on their vaccines.

Kentucky’s vaccine requirements for school entry, which is modeled after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), include new requirements for Hepatitis A and Meningococcal vaccines.

“We encourage parents to contact their medical provider to review their child’s immunization status to help ensure a smooth back-to-school transition for the upcoming year,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard.”

Effective July 1, all school-aged children in kindergarten through 12th grade must show proof of having received two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine to attend school.

A minimum interval of six months between the first and second doses of the Hep A vaccine is required. If the child has not yet received the second dose of the Hep A vaccine for this school year, the child’s Certificate of Immunization Status will be considered “provisional” and will expire 14 days from the date the second dose is required.

Students aged 16 years or older must also show proof of having received two doses of Meningococcal ACWY vaccine (MenACWY). However, it is important to note that if the first dose of MenACWY was received at age 16 years or older, the second dose is not required for school entry. For children 16 and older, the Certificate of Immunization Status must show the dates the child received two doses of Hep A vaccine as well as the MenACWY vaccine.

The Hepatitis A and MenACWY vaccines are available through local healthcare providers and covered as a no-cost preventive service by most health insurance plans. If your child does not have insurance, please contact your local health department for assistance.

Any child with a medical condition who is unable to receive the vaccines will be issued a medical exemption certificate by their healthcare provider. If a parent chooses not to immunize a child based on religious objections, the parent must complete a sworn and notarized Commonwealth of Kentucky Parent or Guardian’s Declination on Religious Grounds to Required Immunizations.

Immunization forms are available on the Kentucky Immunization Program and the Kentucky Department of Education websites.

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