Immunization Ready?

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Amethyst Klasey is four years old and weeks away from going to school for the very first time. So she's come to the Ingham County Health Department to get her immunizations.

"For all new school enterers into a school system, it is required that children receive their immunizations," explains Immunization Clinic Supervisor Joy Maloney. "Typically it's children between the ages of four and six years of age."

The Michigan Department of Community Health's required immunizations include: four doses of Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis, four doses of Polio, two doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella, three doses of Hepatitis B, and one dose of Chickenpox.

"And five to six years later they get a booster of Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Acellular Pertussis," says Maloney.

Though not required before entering sixth grade, it's highly recommended that while getting immunization updates, students also receive the vaccines for Meningitis, Human Papillomavirus, and Hepatitis A.

"We anticipate there'll be a recommendation coming from the state of Michigan to make these required," Maloney says. "And some will be implemented by 2008."

Along with immunizations, there are also mandates for vision and hearing tests.

"For hearing it's very important to emphasize the early on. It's preschool, kindergarten, first and third grade," explains Vision & Hearing Technician Amy Atkinson. "For vision that's also preschool, kindergarten, first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth grade."

After the ninth grade, however, state mandated immunizations and tests are rarely needed. That is until a student enters college -- and then the university requirements come into play.

Immunizations are available through your local health department or family doctor.

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