(02/11/2012)
The rules have changed for students getting immunizations.

It's not just young children anymore, incoming seventh and twelfth-graders will also have to get immunized.

The new vaccinations are required starting with the 2012-2013 school year.

Health officials say it's all about public safety.

The West Virginia Health Board is working on an aggressive campaign to get the word out. Starting with the coming school year new shots will be required for seventh and twelfth-graders.

Previously in West Virginia, there never been required immunizations for anything other than entry into Pre-K and entry into Kindergarten.

For incoming seventh-graders, that means a booster of the tDap which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. For the first time, they'll also need a meningitis vaccine.

Incoming twelfth-graders must show proof they've had the tDap, plus have to get a booster of the meningitis vaccine if their first dose was before their 16th birthday.

The tDap vaccine is related to an increase in pertussis among adolescents, which in some cases can be deadly.

The meningitis vaccine will combat the very deadly bacterial meningitis that can kill quickly.

Health officials maintain these are all safe immunizations and are preferable to the actual illness.

Shots can be obtained by a wellness visit to the child's regular doctor or a visit to the local health department.


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