New Vaccines Available Free To Students

Before entering school, children 10 and 11 years old need new shots

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The new state-required vaccines for 10- and 11-year-olds will be provided by the Gila County Health Department free of charge Tuesday and Wednesday.

A large number of young people have already received the newly required meningococcal and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines through clinics in Payson elementary schools last May and another that was held July 16 during registration at the high school during registration.

The free clinics at the county health office in Payson, 107 W. Frontier St., will be from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, July 29 and 30, said Dani Hatch, school nurse at Payson High School.

Parents and guardians need to have their child's immunization record with them when they come for the vaccines. The health department will check any child's immunization record to make sure they have all their required shots, a spokesperson for the department said.

Hatch said about 60 youngsters received the shots at the July 16 clinic at the high school. It was scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., but they did not close it until about 8:30 p.m., Hatch said.

A new rule, passed in January by the Arizona Department of Health, requires children in the sixth grade, who are 11, to get one dose of the meningococcal vaccine and one dose of the other, if 10 years have passed since their last vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. A 10-year-old, sixth-grade student must get the new required immunizations within a month of their 11th birthday.

Older students in public schools must also get the meningococcal vaccine.

"We have tried to make sure our seniors had the shot in the past," said Hatch.

"A lot of colleges are requiring it for admission. So long as a student gets it while still enrolled in high school, there is no charge. If they wait until after graduating it can cost between $65 and $85."

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