Back to school also means vaccinations, and the North Dakota Department of Health says young people can’t start school without them.
According to the health department, 94 percent of North Dakota kindergarten kids have been vaccinated. Kindergarteners are required to get DTAP, Polio, MMR, Hepatitis B, and chickenpox vaccinations.
The vaccination rate in seventh-grade is 93 percent and 11th-grade is 96 percent.
Each year, the department conducts a school immunization survey to monitor the vaccination rates.
“It’s the safest and easiest way to prevent yourself from getting that disease,” says Health Department Epidemiologist Jenny Galbraith. “If money is a problem and you don’t have insurance, we do have a program here in North Dakota — VFC, that’s Vaccine For Children — and if you go to any provider or a local public health unit, they will be able to help you with that information and you will actually receive that vaccine for free.”
All school-age children must be vaccinated by October 1st or turn in a signed vaccination exemption. Otherwise, they will be excluded from school.