The Arkansas State Board of Health has updated the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Immunization Requirements for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year (attached to this memo). Children will be Required to receive a Tdap Booster before entry into seventh grade. Tdap is the abbreviation for the Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine.
The Immunization Rules and Regulations require Tdap vaccine for seventh grade entry. Arkansas continues to see a high number of Pertussis cases around the state; therefore, the two-year minimum interval allowed within the Rules and Regulations is being followed.
If a student has already received a Tdap vaccine or has received a Tetanus vaccine within the last two years, the Tdap vaccination will not be required at this time. The parent/guardian will need to furnish to the school nurse documentation to prove that the student received a Tdap previously or a Tetanus shot in the past two years.
The Local Health Unit (LHU) in each county will be collaborating with districts in scheduling a date to give Tdap vaccines to all sixth grade students in the districts. If the parent does not want the student to receive a Tdap vaccination, then the parent Must request an exemption from the immunization requirement before the start of the 2010-2011 school year. Exemption forms may be requested from the Immunization Section at 501-661-2169 or via email at Immunization.Section@Arkansas.gov.
In order to provide these vaccines, school districts will be provided three documents from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) via the local health unit. These documents include: (1) Dear Parent/Guardian letter with ADH logo; (2) ADH consent form that the parent will be required to sign in order for the student to receive the vaccine and (3) the Vaccine Information Sheet (VIS) for Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis. The only document to be photocopied by school districts will be the Family Education Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA) consent form to be signed by the parent/guardian (attached to this memo). Districts will need to download the FERPA consent, insert the district’s letterhead and produce copies for all sixth grade students. This FERPA consent should be distributed with the ADH documents. In addition, the Vaccine Information Sheet(attached to this memo) can be posted on the school website.