Pa. health centers offering free vaccines for kids as school deadline nears

    This week, 60 state health centers in Pennsylvania, including the one in Delaware County, are offering free immunizations to children who need to catch up on new school vaccine requirements.

    Revised state immunization schedules that took effect at the beginning of the school year require children of all ages to get a second dose of mumps and chicken pox vaccines.

    They also require seventh-graders to have one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine, and one dose of the DTaP vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

    Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Holli Senior said the eight-month grace period for kids to get up to date is about to end.

    “One of the things that can happen if students are not in compliance with the new regulations is they can be excluded from school,” Senior said.

    Beth Smith, a nurse at the Delaware County State Health Center in Chester, Pa., said any child can get free immunizations at the clinic this week.

    “Typically we do serve people that have no insurance or their insurance doesn’t cover immunizations,” Smith said. “This week, we’re offering our clinic to anyone.”

    Parents are asked to call ahead to set up an appointment.

    County health offices in Chester, Montgomery and Bucks counties are also offering special vaccination programs this month.

    Most of the immunizations were already required prior to this academic year in Philadelphia.

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