Even parents can’t escape school tests. For you and millions of other moms and dads in Texas, August is the time to stand and deliver in exams covering parental skills such as fashion consulting, transportation planning, diplomacy and motivational speaking.
Another major test, sometimes overlooked in the rush, is ensuring that your kids have all pre-school vaccinations required by the state of Texas. As of Aug. 1, state law changed regarding five mandatory shots. The changes primarily affect students entering kindergarten and seventh grade. Following are some basic study notes on those new requirements:
Hepatitis A vaccine: Students entering kindergarten statewide must have had two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine.
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine: Students entering kindergarten must have had two doses of the MMR vaccine. Older students must continue to meet the current requirement, which is two doses of a measles-containing vaccine and one dose each of mumps and rubella vaccine.
Varicella vaccine: Students entering kindergarten and seventh grade must have had two doses. Students in other grades must continue to meet the current requirement, which is one dose of varicella vaccine.
Tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis-containing vaccine (TDAP): Students entering seventh grade must have had one dose of TDAP vaccine. Students in seventh grade must have had a booster dose, but only if it has been five years since their last dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine. Students in grades 8-12 must have had a booster dose of TDAP if it’s been 10 years since their last dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine.
Meningococcal vaccine: Students entering seventh grade must have had one dose.
The full list of current immunization requirements, along with other information on immunization, can be found on the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) immunizations web page: www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize.
More Immunization Basics
For some families, getting up-to-date on vaccinations involves more than just showing up at their family doctor’s office or medical clinic. Determining what vaccinations are needed means checking a child’s shot record — not always an easy proposition for parents who’ve frequently changed medical care providers.
The most convenient source of information is the ImmTrac immunization registry, kept by DSHS for children whose parents or legal guardians consented to have their immunization records entered into the database. If you’ve given your consent, you can call the DSHS Immunization Branch at 800-252-9152 or your local health department to get a copy of your child’s shot record.
If you haven’t yet registered your school-age child for ImmTrac, you’ll need to supply written consent by completing, signing, and mailing or faxing a consent form to ImmTrac along with copies of any immunization records you have for your child.
You can get the consent form at www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize by clicking the “Need Shot Records?” graphic. To request that a paper form be mailed or faxed to you, call 800-348-9158.
When the form’s filled out, either fax it to 866-624-0180, or mail it to:
Texas Department of State Health Service
ImmTrac Group T-301
1100 West 49th Street, Austin, Texas 78756
For general information on ImmTrac, call 800-252-9152 or e-mail ImmTrac@dshs.state.tx.us
If you aren’t registered with ImmTrac, you can obtain immunization records by contacting either your child’s doctor or the local health clinic where your child received his or her previous shots.
Finally, if you need a place to receive low-cost or free vaccinations, you can either check with your city or county health department or call 2-1-1 Texas — a three-digit, toll-free number that provides information on health and social services for your area.