‘Don’t Wait. Vaccinate.’ Campaign Urges Parents to Update Children’s Vaccines Before School Starts

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Yesterday the Department of Health continued its“Don’t Wait. Vaccinate.” campaign by hosting an immunization clinic and encouraging parents to add immunization updates to the list of things children need before their first day of school.

“Childhood vaccines protect against 14 serious and potentially life-threatening diseases,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy. “Not vaccinating children increases their risk for diseases. It also allows them to spread diseases to others in their family, classrooms, and community – including young babies and people who have weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions. Vaccines are among the safest and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease.”

Children in grades K-12 need the following immunizations for attendance: tetanus, diphtheria, polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), hepatitis B, and chickenpox. Children entering the seventh grade also need additional immunizations of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV) and tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap).

All of the vaccines listed above are available at clinics the department is holding statewide until August 21. The clinics will provide immunizations at little or no cost for children through 18 years of age who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, underinsured, or American Indian or Alaska Native. The cost is $5 per child (payable by check or money order) for families above income guidelines, however no child will be turned away because of an inability to pay.

Parents whose children meet the requirements for the vaccine clinics must call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) to schedule an appointment. Parents must bring their child’s vaccination records to their scheduled appointment. A parent/legal guardian must accompany the child receiving immunizations. DOH staff will need to be notified prior to the appointment if someone other than the child’s parent/legal guardian will be accompanying him/her.

In addition to these special back-to-school vaccine clinics, the Department of Health regularly schedules immunization clinics throughout the year across the commonwealth. Interested individuals can call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) any time to get more information.

For more information, visit www.dontwaitvaccinate.pa.gov or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

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