With the new school year looming, the North Dakota Department of Health is reminding parents to make sure their children are up to date on immunizations. North Dakota state law requires students in grades kindergarten through 12 to meet a minimum number of required immunizations before they attend school. The NDDoH is encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated now, rather than waiting until right before school starts.

“Ensuring children are up to date on immunizations is the best way to keep students healthy and stop the spread of infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, and pertussis in our schools,” said Jenny Galbraith, epidemiologist with the NDDoH.

If you haven’t done so, check with your health care provider to find out which vaccines your child needs. Once your child is up to date, be sure to get a copy of his or her immunization record to submit to the school. You can find more information about which vaccines are required for school on the NDDoH website.

Cost should not be a barrier for getting children up to date on immunizations. Children who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover vaccines can receive vaccine at no cost through the Vaccines for Children Program. Contact your health care provider or local public health unit if you believe your child could be eligible for VFC vaccines.

Children who are not in compliance by being up to date on their immunizations or having a signed exemption form by October 1 will be excluded from school for not meeting requirements.

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For more information on school immunization requirements, contact Jenny Galbraith, NDDoH, at 701-328-2335, or visit our website at www.ndhealth.gov/immunize.