State Offers Vaccination Clinics to Help School Children Meet Deadline

Time is running out for school kids who are not up to date with new immunization regulations that took effect last August.  The state is trying to help families comply before the grace period runs out.

The provisional period will soon be coming to an end for students who don’t have a second dose of the chicken pox vaccine and for 7th graders who did not get a Tdap (Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis) vaccination or the MCV vaccine for meningitis.  

Clinics are being held across the state to provide those vaccinations for students who are not in compliance for the current school year.  Heather Stafford, director of the Division of Immunization for the state Health Department, says families must register by March 30th.  The shots will be given free of charge. For more information go to or call 877 PA-Health.

Stafford says they don’t know how many children are not in compliance.  She says it varies county by county.  She adds there may also be cases where the paperwork has not made it back to the school nurse’s desk yet. They do know there are some counties have larger percentages than others.

Stafford says Pennsylvania does allow for a religious or philosophical exemption.  This requires a statement written by the parent or guardian be provided to the school.  The state also allows for medical exemptions, which require a statement written by a physician.

The clinics are free of charge.  Students attending one should bring current vaccination records and those under 18 should be accompanied by a parent or a guardian.