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Free Tdap, miningococcal vaccinations clinic offered

Cass County Public Health will hold a free vaccination clinic for students in grades 6-12 from 3-7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, at Pine River-Backus School. Use the back parking lot entrance to Commons area.

This opportunity is being made available because of immunization law changes that will go into effect Sept. 1, 2014. Parents or guardians will need to be present to consent for the vaccinations.

This mass vaccination exercise is available through the Cass County Public Health emergency preparedness plan and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Two vaccines will be available — Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) and meningococcal vaccines. All students entering seventh grade are required to be vaccinated with Tdap as well as meningococcal by the Minnesota school law by Sept. 1, 2014. Students entering eighth through 12th grades must show documentation if the school requests it.

The Tdap vaccine provides protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).

Meningococcal disease is an illness caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitis (or bacterial meningitis). It often causes meningitis but it can also cause bloodstream infections, pneumonia, joint infections and other illness.

Preteens should receive a single shot of meningococcal vaccine during their 11-12 year old check-up and a booster dose at age 16 years.

The free vaccine is being made available through Federal 317 vaccine funding. There are very limited situations in which this vaccine can be used for children regardless of insurance. A preparedness exercise is one of these situations.

Current changes to immunization requirements for children in Minnesota schools to better protect children and communities from a number of potentially serious diseases apply to children enrolling in programs beginning Sept. 1, 2014, and bring Minnesota’s immunizations law in line with current national recommendations and practices. Among the biggest changes, the new rules for children in child care and grades preK-12 now call for:

Hepatitis A and B vaccination for children enrolling in child care or early childhood programs.

Replacement of the current seventh-grade tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccination with one that also includes pertussis (Tdap).

Meningococcal vaccination for secondary students, beginning in seventh grade.

For more information, contact Jeri Seegmiller, public health nurse county team lead at 218-547-1340, ext. 223.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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