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State health dept. sets forth new vaccination requirements

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Children enrolling in school or child care programs next fall will require a different set of shots, according to new rules adopted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Monday.

Effective Sept. 1, 2014, kids in child care or early childhood programs are required to receive Hepatitis A and B vaccinations.

All students starting seventh grade will need a tetanus-diphtheria vaccination that also protects against pertussis (Tdap booster), or whooping cough, and a meningococcal vaccination that can prevent four types of meningococcal disease, which includes the illness meningitis.

However, the option for parents to opt out of school immunization requirements via legal exemption has not changed.

MDH says the changes are recommended to by the Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other medical and public health groups.

“By bringing Minnesota’s immunization requirements up to date with current, evidence-based national standards, we’re taking an important step toward making sure all children in Minnesota have the opportunity to be protected from these vaccine-preventable diseases that can cause serious illness or even death,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said in a new release.

The health department also recommends children, along with adults, get a flu shot every fall to protect against the influenza virus. Flu season typically begins in mid October in Minnesota. So far this year, there have been seven flu-related hospitalizations.

The state's coming off a severe 2012-2013 flu season where there were 201 flu-related deaths and more than 3,000 hospitalizations.

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