Texas delays immunization requirements

August 25, 2009 5:16:32 AM PDT
The deadline for some students to get certain vaccinations -- including a shot for chicken pox -- was extended by more than a month after new requirements led to local shortages at health care centers, state health officials said Monday. The extension was announced Monday, shortly after most Texas schools opened their doors for the new year.

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued an emergency rule extending the deadline for shots for meningococcal, tetanus and varicella until Oct. 1, agency spokesman Doug McBride said. The extension applies to shots required for students entering kindergarten and seventh grade.

Without the extension, students without all vaccines are typically turned away from schools. McBride said he had heard unconfirmed reports that students in the Dallas area had been turned away before schools were alerted to the extension.

Last spring, health officials added required doses of those vaccines.

McBride said most of the children enrolled in public schools have received the necessary vaccinations.

"If a child is vaccinated (parents) shouldn't be concerned," McBride said. "The ones at risk are the ones who would be going unvaccinated. But given the really low probability that these conditions start spreading over next few days, we felt safe in extending that deadline."

For a closer look at the vaccinations and the state's new extension, check out the school requirements listed on the Texas Department of State Health Services web site.

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