Free adolescent immunizations offered

NEW ULM – Brown County Public Health is partnering with schools to provide free Adolescent Immunization Clinics for 6th-12th graders. This is an effort to prepare the 6th graders for 7th grade entry and increase vaccination rates among the 7th -12th graders.

The clinics start today and run through April 23. Dates and times can be found on the Brown County website www.co.brown.mn.us or individual school websites.

The Minnesota Department of Health has initiated a campaign to make families aware of the recommended and required immunizations for children in this age group. Families with a child aged 11-12 should have received a post card that outlines the new immunization law that goes into effect in the fall of 2014 for students entering 7th grade.

These new requirements will mandate that students entering 7th grade receive the Tdap and the meningococcal vaccine, unless they have an exemption. HPV vaccination is also is recommended. Most 6th graders in Brown County have not had the Tdap, meningococcal or HPV immunization yet because they are recommended at age 11-12.

Only 58 percent of students in 7th-12th grade have had the 1st Meningococcal vaccine and only 4 percent have had the meningococcal booster.

This vaccine protects from meningitis, a disease that many times is fatal. That is why it is required for 7th grade entry starting this fall.

Only 27 percent of children aged 13-17 in Brown County have had the HPV vaccine, which prevents cancer. It is recommended for both boys and girls.

Brown County Public Health has partnered with the regional immunization registry and will be sending out information to each family that has children aged 11-17 years about the specific immunization needs or recommendations. It will also include information about free vaccination clinics at the schools. Parents can also check with their healthcare provider or log into their child’s electronic medical record. The information in the mailing and on the website also has an 800 number to call for information.

Parents can go to the Brown County website www.co.brown.mn.us and click on the link for School Vaccination Clinics on the right side of the page. This will bring them to the information sheet and guide them through the process. Parents can also go to the child’s school website. The information and necessary forms can also be obtained at the Public Health office at 1117 Center Street, New Ulm, or at their child’s school office. Parents can also call 507-233-6820 and request the information be sent to them in the mail.

Parents of students under age 18 will need to read the information, complete a consent form, complete a screening form and return those forms to the school or the public health department so the immunization can be given. The forms can be dropped off at the school or the public health department; faxed to public health, or scanned and emailed.

This information is available at www.co.brown.mn.us or by calling the office at 507-233-6820.

The forms should be sent back one week prior to the clinic that the child plans to attend. Parents are welcome to accompany their child but it is not necessary.

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