South Dakota requiring 6th grade vaccinations

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The Rapid City Area School District is teaming up with Regional Health to increase immunization compliance.

In 2016, the South Dakota State Legislature passed a law requiring incoming sixth graders to receive two vaccines. The partnership is an effort to remind parents and students of the requirement while school officials hope the majority of sixth grade students will receive the vaccine before the first day of school.

Regional Health will have booths set up during school events to inform parents about the diseases that health officials are working to protect students against. Marybeth McLellan, the manager of clinical operations at Family Medicine Residency, explained the vaccine requirements.

“This is a new requirement by the state of South Dakota - it's our second year,” McLellan said. “The state requires a meningitis shot and a Tdap booster or a tetanus booster for all the children that are entering sixth grade.”

Katy Urban, the communications manager for Rapid City Area Schools, said that last year the majority of students didn’t receive the vaccinations. And this year, if the student has not received the vaccinations within the first two weeks of school, they will be excluded.

“It's really important we get the word out because it hasn’t gotten out as we found,” Urban said. “Last year, more than 90 percent of our students did not have the needed vaccination when they started the sixth grade. So, we just want to get the word out and make sure that parents know that they need to get their kids in and get that vaccination.”

If parents have questions about vaccinations, they can always visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online or contact their family care provider.


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