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State Board of Health may change requirements of immunizations

New immunizations requirements are being considered by the State Board of Health that would require children who will be 11 or older on Sept 1 must have a Tdap shot in order to attend a public or private school. The Tdap shot protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Parents will be in compliance with the requirements if they have been taking their children to their family physician to receive their shots, as recommended by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Prior to this, the shot was required for students entering the seventh grade. The purpose of the change in the requirements is to better protect children who are at an age when they are likely to get pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough. It is very contagious and it can cause uncontrollable fits of coughing that make it hard to breathe. Health officials noticed an increase in the number of 10-11 year olds who got whooping cough and that the number of cases declined in children old enough to be in seventh grade. Parents who choose not to immunize their children must get an exemption from the state Health Departments Immunization Section To do so, call 501-661-2169. Another new requirement for the children’s immunizations will take effect in the coming school year, is that seventh graders must have received a meningococcal shot against meningitis. Also, student will have to receive a shot before they turn 16, regardless of their grade level. If they had a meningococcal shot before their 16th birthday, they will need to have a second one. Also, there is a change in regulations governing chickenpox. The new regulation will require that if they have had chickenpox, there must be a report of disease from a medical professional for a child to avoid the requirement for having the vaccine for chickenpox. There are several other changes in the schedule of immunizations. and you can check these out on www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

July 7th was the deadline for citizen initiated ballot proposals to be submitted to the attorney generals office. Only two groups got enough signatures. Let Arkansas Decide is one of the groups. Its proposal would allow a statewide alcohol sales on the November ballot. It had 78,133 signatures.The other group, Give Arkansas a Raise Now, submitted a proposal with more that 64,000 signatures that would raise the minimum wage gradually from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017.

If you would like to contact me, please email me at bruce.holland@senate.ar.gov or call my office at 650-1884 or write me at P.O. Box 2387 Greenwood AR. 72936.

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