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Health officials prepare for student vaccination rush

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The start of school is less than two weeks away for some central Indiana districts. That means your child might need to be caught up on immunizations to meet requirements and health officials suggest beating the rush.

Many kids, even their parents, want to procrastinate when it comes to those pesky shots, but the Marion County Health Department and others in the area say now is the time to get your child’s record updated.

Schools require children be immunized for about a dozen infectious diseases over the span of pre-school to 12th grades, some of those include hepatitis B, tetanus, polio, and measles.

Local health experts use a term called ‘herd immunity’ to explain why it’s so important for as many people as possible to be vaccinated.

“When we have our healthy people immunized, then we’re protecting those people who may be out and about who aren’t eligible for vaccines because of another health problem. So we really have to be willing to look to our neighbor and say I’m going to do this to help you,” Jessica Klipsch, a nurse with the immunization and infectious disease program, said.

According to the Indiana Youth Institute, in 2013, 77.2-percent of children ages 19 to 35 months had completed the vaccinations needed to enter kindergarten. That’s similar to the national rate of 77.7-percent, but Klipsch says it’s not enough. She would like to see numbers much closer to 100-percent.

‘”Because that’s how we know that the kids in our community are fully protected against all of those infectious diseases that they could encounter at school and we also know that those kids won’t be excluded and miss any class time later on in the school year,” Klipsch said.

The Marion County Health Department staff say they have extended appointment times and are encouraging parents to be proactive and get their child in early. For information on how to make an appointment, click here.