New Immunization Requirements

A new law concerning the health of infants and toddlers takes effect September 1st. That's when new immunization requirements begin. The vaccines ward off two very dangerous diseases.

The law will require children in early childhood programs up to 59 months of age to be immunized against pneumoccocal diseases. Each year about 200 children under 5 years old die from the severe diseases. Registered nurse with the Texas Department of Health Services Wanda LaBoyteaux said, "The most common types of infections are middle ear, pneumonia, bloodstream infections, sinus infection and then meningitis."

Day care teachers like the new requirements. They know a well baby is a happy baby. Infant teacher Diana Strahan said, "We disinfect constantly throughout the day, handwashing and we're constantly wiping noses, but germs will spread throughout the room because they're constantly on the floor and they're making contact with each other."

Close contact can also spread Hepatitis A. Now children attending child care who are two years of age or older will also need that protection. LaBoyteaux explained, "Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease and causes infection of the liver and cause GI symptoms, nausea and vomiting and diarrhea, and those sorts of things."

Vaccines do come with side effects, but moms are told the risk is far less than the protection. Mother, JoEl Taylor said, "I personally would feel if it keeps them from getting something more dangerous or something that's going to affect them later than get the vaccines."

You can take your child to the doctor, community health center or Department of Health Services for the vaccinations. DHS has organized immunization drives at Nacogdoches Head Start, Woden and Cushing school districts. Schools should make arrangements for clinics now to avoid a rush.