Clock is Ticking for Student Vaccinations in Bethlehem

May 4, 2012 by  

A handful of Bethlehem School District students have been urged to complete their vaccinations before time runs out.

The original deadline for all students to receive vaccines was Monday, April 30, 2012. A statewide extension now gives students an extra two weeks to receive their shots.

The vaccines students need include a second shot of the mumps vaccine and chickenpox vaccine for all students in grades kindergarten through 12th. Seventh graders have additional requirements. They need to receive tetanus, pertussis and meningitis vaccines as well.

Fortunately, most students in the Bethlehem School District do not need the extension. Only 17 out of the 3,500 students in the district still needed vaccinations as of May 1st. Students who do not receive vaccinations in time cannot attend school.

The district has put in a lot of effort to inform parents and students about the need for vaccines. Kathy Halkins, a school nurse at Bethlehem’s Liberty High School has sent letters home to let parents know about the importance of vaccinating children. Enlisting the help of brochure printers to produce pamphlets and brochures full of facts about the importance of vaccinations could have also helped the school district’s cause. Halkins also called unvaccinated students into her office to provide them with paperwork to make the process simpler.

At the start of the school year, students had eight months to obtain the necessary vaccinations. The deadline extension is designed to give students who have not yet been able to receive vaccines more time, according to the PA Health Department’s Christine Cronkright.