Minnesota Immunization Law Changes Update — One Year Later


By Ben Christianson and Lisa Randall, MDH Program Staff

Changes to Minnesota’s Immunization Law took effect on Sept. 1, 2014. The law now more closely aligns with current national immunization recommendations. Some examples of the new requirements included:
• Meningococcal and Tdap for seventh graders,
• Hepatitis B and hepatitis A for children in child care or early childhood programs, and
• Timing of the final doses of DTaP and polio for kindergarteners.

Each fall Minnesota schools report their students’ vaccination status to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

For the 2014-15 school year, 92 percent of seventh graders were vaccinated with one dose of meningococcal vaccine and 94 percent were vaccinated with Tdap vaccine. This exceeded the Healthy People 2020 goal which called for 80 percent of children 13-15 years old to be vaccinated with one dose of meningococcal and one dose of Tdap. While it is hard to determine the exact effect of the law, these high coverage rates point to a positive impact.

Studies have shown that child care and school immunization requirements identify children that missed vaccines and have helped reduce large disease outbreaks. However, we can’t only rely on the law to make sure kids are protected. There are additional vaccines that are recommended but not required, such as HPV vaccine. Giving HPV vaccine at the same appointment as Tdap and meningococcal is not only convenient, it’s the medically acceptable standard. MDH has a website with resources for keeping adolescents up-to-date at www.wevaxteens.com

The bottom line is, if you’re following the recommended immunization schedule for children and adolescents, you’ll be in compliance with the law. It also means Minnesota children will have protection from all vaccine-preventable diseases, not just those required for school, child care, or early childhood programs.
For more details on the Minnesota Immunization Law, go to www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/immrule/index.html

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