The start of the school year is quickly approaching, and purchasing school supplies isn’t the only thing parents need to do before the first day of classes.
South Dakota Epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger is recommending parents check the immunizations of pre-teens and college freshmen before the school year gets underway. He says these age groups are at high risk for meningococcal disease, as well as pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
The meningococcal vaccine is available from family health care providers and campus student health centers. The state Department of Health provides it for those 11-18 years of age who are eligible for the federal Vaccines for Children Program (Medicaid eligible, Native American or Alaskan Native, uninsured or underinsured).
The Department of Health also provides the childhood series of the pertussis vaccine, as well as the booster dose free for 11 to 12 year olds.
You can find a vaccine provider or learn more about meningitis or whooping cough on the SD Department of Health website.
Be sure to check out our special "Back To School" page on KELOLAND.com for everything you need to know about supply lists and start dates. Click on the link at the top of our homepage and you're there.