Summer is half over, the start of the school year is looming. Parents need to be sure that their children’s shots are up to date and their dental exams are done.

Immunization clinics for children are held the first and third Wednesdays of every month at the Shelby County Health Department.

SCHD will also hold evening clinics on August 8 and September 12 to accommodate the working parent.

“We encourage parents not to wait until the last minute,” said Colleen Hinton, R.N. and Director of Nursing at the SCHD. “We ask that parents make an appointment. We want to make sure we have enough vaccine on hand.”

“We prefer appointments, but we will do walk-ins if we have enough vaccine on hand,” Hinton said.

Children entering kindergarten, fifth, and ninth grades, as well as all athletes, need to have physicals in addition to up-to-date immunizations.

“We (the Health Department) do physicals in the spring,” Hinton said. “Those who need physicals at this time of the year will have to go through their family physician.”

Those children entering kindergarten need DTAP (diphtheria, tetanus, and polio) and MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella) boosters.

“The CDC (Center for Disease Control) is recommending the varicella vaccines also,” Hinton said. “If a child gets the shot as an infant, they are going to need a booster.”

The varicella vaccine guards against chicken pox.

Hinton also said that teens between 13 and 15 years of age are encouraged to get the Tdap (tetanus) booster in place of the Td booster.

She also recommends that teens through 18 years of age get the one-time menactra vaccine against meningitis.

“We want to encourage that now as there is no vaccine for the adult,” Hinton said.

All vaccines require parental signatures. Hinton said that and the child may be brought in by a caregiver, but a parent must sign the form.

“Any student new to the school district may have their records reviewed by SCHD to make sure they are up to date,” Hinton said.

Illinois state law requires that students present proof of a health examination and immunizations within one year before entering kindergarten or the first grade, upon entering the fifth and ninth grades, and whenever a student first enroll in school, regardless of the student’s grade.

Children two years of age or older entering the school district operated pre-kindergarten program and all student enter the fifth grade are required to have the Hepatitis B vaccine series. Any student required to take the Hepatitis B series who presents a schedule of dates for the immunization will not be excluded from school unless they fail to follow through on the scheduled dates.

Children between the ages of six month and six years entering pre-school programs and kindergarten are required to be screened for lead poisoning.

Illinois now requires children entering kindergarten, fifth, and ninth grades to undergo a dental examination by October 15, according to Shelbyville Superintendent Robert Verdun.

“This is a new regulation required by the state of Illinois,” Verdun said. “In theory it is set up so children have the exams every four years.”

Verdun noted that reports are sent to the state in September showing the number of students not in compliance with the health regulation.

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