New Program Gives Students Vaccinations at School

Filed under: In The News

Henry Middle School student Jorge Aldana winces as Denver Health clinical project manager RN Kelly Busch gives him a shot. Credit: Joe Amon, The Denver Post

First it was homework, then it was tests and now it's shots. Just one more reasons kids might ask to stay home.

In an effort to raise childhood immunization numbers, the federal government set up a vaccination program in elementary and middle public schools, expected to reach 4,000 school children, according to The Denver Post. Experts say it is the "first school-located program in the country to offer vaccines to all students, regardless of socioeconomic status," the paper reports.

The Denver Public Schools Web site states it serves more than 78,000 students.

Dr. Judith Shaley, the principal investigator for the study and a family physician, told the Post that "as recently as 2003, Colorado ranked 50th in the nation for childhood immunizations."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Colorado kids were current on some vaccines, but less than one-third had received inoculations against meningococcal meningitis, the Post reports.

Besides receiving the and meningococcal meningitis, H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines, which are not required, students at Henry Middle School have received vaccinations for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

One reason for low numbers, the article mentions, is that by the time students reach middle-school age, they are less likely to visit a physician "who might recommend they receive inoculation." The program bills health insurance directly and there is no need for parents to take time off from work for doctors' visits, the Post reports.

The CDC has funded the program with two grants that total $1.6 million, according to the Post.

Related: The Truth About Vaccines

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.