Immunizations required for new school year |

Immunizations required for new school year

Abigail Eagye

A new school year is right around the corner, and local school officials have begun the push to ensure students have the necessary immunizations.A recent case of spinal meningitis at the Wildwood School didn’t raise alarm with public health officials; one reason is that students are generally vaccinated against the disease.All students entering school in Colorado are required to be immunized against certain diseases, although the state does allow exemptions for medical, religious or personal reasons. Nonetheless, Aspen authorities encourage all parents to make sure their children have the required vaccinations.”We respect a person or family’s need for a medical, religious or personal exemption,” said Elise Dreher, a registered nurse with the Aspen School District. Nonetheless, she said, “we always encourage vaccinations.”Dreher said that even though students whose parents have signed the waiver are allowed to attend school, if there’s any threat of an outbreak of a disease, those students might be kept out of school for a specified time period.After the Wildwood School employee contracted meningitis, for instance, the school and the state examined the immunization records of every student to ensure all were vaccinated. They found no students in the past two months who weren’t current on their vaccinations, but if they had discovered someone, that student might have been asked to stay home temporarily.”At the beginning of school, there’s always this push to get immunization records up to date,” Dreher said, and the workload is lighter if parents address the issue before school starts.If your child has previously attended Aspen schools, their immunization records are already on file, but any updated vaccinations will need to be reported.New students entering school do need proof of required vaccinations.For more information on required vaccinations, call the Aspen Public School health office at 925-3760, ext. 3227 or 3229. Or call Pitkin County Community Health Services at 920-5420 for more information or if your child doesn’t have medical insurance. The county offices have limited hours, so be sure to call ahead.Abigail Eagye’s e-mail address is abby@aspentimes.comThe following vaccinations are required or recommended by the state of Colorado unless a parent or guardian signs an exemption:diphtheriatetanus and pertussis or whooping cough (DTaP)haemophilus influenzae type b (HIB)hepatitis A and Binfluenzameasles, mumps and rubella (MMR)pneumococcal disease or pneumoniapoliovaricella or chickenpoxPlease check with the school district or state and county health officials to ensure your child has the proper vaccinations:Aspen Public School health office: 925-3760, ext. 3227 or 3229Pitkin County Community Health Services: 920-5420Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website: