Friday, April 13, 2001

Kids to receive 2 more shots

By Mark R. Chellgren
The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — To the already long list of shots children must get, add two more.

        Starting Aug. 1, children entering school or licensed care facilities will have to be immunized for chickenpox. And for children entering the sixth grade, a series of vaccines for hepatitis B will be required.

        Dr. Glyn Caldwell of the state Cabinet for Health Services, said the new immunization requirements were added at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical groups.

        Chickenpox, considered a common childhood ailment in generations past, is now recognized as a more serious problem.

        “It is one of the things that, in severe cases, can make children deaf, blind, retarded and, rarely, killed,” Dr. Caldwell said.

        The chickenpox vaccination will be required of children 19 months to 7 years old.

        The hepatitis vaccine will be required only for sixth-graders through the 2008-09 school year because such shots are now on the list for younger children. Public health officials are trying to catch up with an age group that was missed.

        Vaccinations already required include those for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and an influenza shot known by its acronym Hib.

        The immunizations are available through county health departments, clinics or private medical offices.

        The total cost of the vaccines is $390.14, but the cost to patients is far less. The Health Services cabinet buys the vaccines and provides them to county health departments and some physicians for eligible people. Most private insurance companies also cover the cost of vaccinations. Most health departments charge a $5 fee for immunizations, but that can also be waived.


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