New vaccination requirements take effect in Minnesota schools Sept. 1st

By KBJR News 1

August 20, 2014 Updated Aug 20, 2014 at 7:04 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- School is just around the corner for many Northland kids and teens.

And with new vaccination requirements taking effect in Minnesota on September 1st, students will need to be up to date on all their shots.

"You just got one or two shots? How many shots did you just get?" asked our reporter Elsa Robins.

"One," replied Abby Johnson, an eighth grader from Cloquet.

"How'd it feel?"

(shrugs) "It was a shot."

For 8th grader Abby Johnson, keeping up to date with her shots is just part of her regular routine.

"Up to this point, schools have had the option of saying we'll take your kids, even if they're not immunized," said Dr. Stephen Carlson, a family physician with Essentia Health in Duluth.

But now that the Minnesota Department of Health has changed immunization rules, infants and school-aged children will now be required to get certain shots.

"The recommendations now have become requirements for the public schools," said Dr. Carlson.

Dr. Carlson says with the new law Minnesota schools can refuse a child's admission if they aren't up to date with their required vaccinations.

"Parents still have the choice of saying, 'I don't want my child to be immunized.' The schools now have the choice of saying, 'We won't take your child,'" he said.

The new rules mandate certain vaccines for children in early childhood education programs.

Dr. Carlson says the clinics have been busy...

"Young kids starting school. Kids going into 7th grade and kids that are involved with varsity sports," said Dr. Carlson.

...with shots in all areas.

"The hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines. The MMR, which is a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. Chicken pox vaccine is required now. Tetanus is required, and now it's combined with diphtheria and pertussis, whooping cough," said Dr. Carlson.

Abby Johnson, who went in for an HPV vaccine, says if her family and caregivers are concerned, she'll put those worries to rest, even if it stings a bit.

"I'm just all like, well if you guys are concerned I guess I'm going to get this. Okay I'll take a shot for it," said Johnson.

...all in an effort to prevent future disease outbreaks.

Although health officials discourage parents from skipping immunizations, they say there are some legal objections that will be accepted if the parents fill out the appropriate forms.

Elsa Robins