WILMINGTON, N.C. — Summer is almost over and school is about to start for many kids who will need to get their shots sooner than later.
- NC public schools require students to be up-to-date on their vaccines within 30 days of starting school
- Uninsured families, those with Medicaid or private insurance can get vaccines
- In North Carolina, parents can exempt their children from vaccines for medical or religious reasons
North Carolina public schools require students to be up-to-date on their vaccines within 30 days of starting school, but health officials recommend doing it much sooner.
Vaccination Coordinator of the New Hanover Health Department Larry Grimsley says it is affordable for all families through the Federal Vaccines for Children program, 19 years and younger.
“If they're not insured, have Medicaid, or private insurance, that program does not prevent them from getting vaccines,” said Grimsley.
In North Carolina, parents can exempt their children from vaccines for medical or religious reasons. The number of religious exemptions in the state has nearly doubled in the last five years.
According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, here are the numbers:
- 2012-13: 871 religious exemptions out of total kindergarten population of 130,612
- 2013-14:1,105 out of 126,084
- 2014-15:1,127 out of 129,792
- 2015-16:1,240 out of 128,290
- 2016-17: 2,073 out of 126,454
All students must be in compliance with NC Immunization Law (GS130A-152) within 30 days of enrollment in school. The State of North Carolina requires that students have the following immunizations:
Before a child enters school for the first time:
- 5 doses DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)
- 4 doses polio
- 3-4 doses Hib (haemophilus influenza type B)
- 2 doses MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella)
- 3 doses Hep B (hepatitis B)2 doses Varicella (chickenpox)
Before a child enters the 7th grade or by age 12:
- 1 dose Tdap booster (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis)
- 1 dose MCV (meningococcal conjugate)
The New Hanover County Health Department is offering vaccinations on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday at their Wilmington location, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Their clinics are open until 6:15 p.m. on Tuesdays. For more information, click here.