Chickenpox vaccination required for kindergarten

Chickenpox vaccination required for kindergarten Kindergarten parents can beat the rush by calling now to arrange chickenpox immunizations for their kids well before school starts, says a state health official.

"State law was changed this year to add chickenpox to the list of immunizations required for kindergarten entry," said Bonnie Jameson, Director of the Health Department's Office of Disease Prevention. "We've shipped more than 11,000 doses of the vaccine to providers across the state so there should be no problem getting kindergartners immunized."

Under the new requirement, all kindergartners must have either been immunized for chickenpox or have had the disease itself. Parents of children who have already had chickenpox can sign a statement to that effect on the school immunization certificate and no physician documentation is necessary.

Parents can call their health provider, clinic, or local community health nurse to arrange for the vaccine. They can also check the department's web site to locate providers in their area. Because the state supplies the vaccine, the only cost to parents is a small administration fee and no one can be turned away if they can't pay the fee.

Jameson said the change in the school entry law was a companion to Governor Janklow's budget providing $250,000 in state general funds for chickenpox vaccine. That amount, along with a $100,000 contribution from the South Dakota Caring Program for Children Foundation will supply vaccine for the state's 12- to 18-month-olds and for 5-year-olds as a "catch-up" measure.

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