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State changes vaccination requirements

Vaccine changes for 2015-16

There have been several changes to North Carolina’s immunization requirements for students, and parents of students going into kindergarten, sixth and seventh grade need to be aware of those changes. The major changes are:

  • Boosters are no longer required for students entering sixth grade.
  • There are now two required boosters for rising seventh graders: tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (TdaP) and meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV). Beginning in 2020, students will also need a booster of MCV in 12th grade.
  • Kindergarteners must have two doses of varicella, better known as the chickenpox vaccine.

No one enjoys getting shots, but unfortunately, they are a necessary evil.

In order to go to school in North Carolina, children must be vaccinated for a number of preventable diseases.

Susan McClary, Rowan-Salisbury’s co-lead nurse, said vaccines are important because they prevent devastating diseases.This year, children entering kindergarten will be required to have two doses of Varicella, or the chickenpox vaccine.

“Research shows that that second Varicella gives better immunity,” McClary.

She added that in the past, a previous diagnosis of chicken pox could be verified by a parent. Now, it must be verified by a medical professional.

A booster for Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis (TdaP) used to be required for rising sixth graders, but beginning this year, the booster will be required for rising seventh graders. Those seventh graders will also be required to have Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV) for the first time this year. Beginning in 2020, students will also need a booster of MCV in 12th grade.

These immunizations can be administered at the health department or at the child’s family doctor. In addition to vaccinations, all children entering kindergarten must complete a physical. Those who do not have both their vaccines and physical on file by the 30th day of school will be suspended.

“That’s the law,” McClary said.

If the student’s guardian can prove they are actively working on getting their immunizations taken care of, however, they will be allowed to stay.

As the first day of school quickly approaches, the health department and doctor’s office appointments fill up.

“The important thing is for parents for go ahead and get appointments made and get vaccinations done,” McClary said.

She added that anyone with questions should call their doctor or talk to their school’s data manager or nurse.


Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTP/DtaP) – Students must have five doses. The final dose should administered on or after the fourth birthday. If the fourth dose falls on or after the fourth birthday, a fifth dose is not required.

Polio (IPV) – Students must have four doses. If the third dose is given on or after the fourth birthday, a fourth dose is not required.

Haemophilus Influenza Type b (Hib) – If the child is 5 or older, Hib is not required.

Hepatitis B – Students are required to have three doses of Hepatitis B. The last dose in this series shall not be administered prior to 24 weeks of age.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) – MMR is a three-in-one vaccine. Students must have two doses separated by at least 30 days. The first dose is typically given on or after the first birthday. The second can be given 30 days after.

Varicella (Chickenpox) – Students entering kindergarten after July 1 of this year must have two doses of Varicella.

Students entering seventh grade must have the following vaccines:

Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis (TdaP)  – Students must have one dose. This is a booster for DtaP.

Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV) – One dose





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