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RFISD requires student vaccinations

By Sean Bowlin | 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs | Aug. 3, 2009

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — The 12th Medical Group's Immunization Clinic said Randolph Independent School District students will require vaccinations before beginning classes this school year.

"In the past two years, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) made new recommendations regarding child and adolescent vaccinations," said Staff Sgt. Kristin Andrade-Borbor, 12th MDG immunizations technician.

The sergeant said the first new school district requirement for all children 4 and older is a booster of the varicella vaccine, which protects against chickenpox. All children should have received one dose at age 12-15 months. However, the CDC noticed cases of chickenpox still appearing in children and suggested this booster dose.

Sergeant Andrade-Borbor said anyone pregnant or having an immune-suppressive illness like AIDS, or who is taking immune-suppressive medications such as steroids, or who has active untreated tuberculosis, or is allergic to the varicella vaccine, should not receive it. The vaccine's most common side effects include soreness or swelling at the site of injection, fever and a mild rash.

Next, the schools will examine all seventh- to 12th graders' shot records for evidence of a Tetanus booster within the last 10 years, said Sergeant Andrade-Borbor.

The Immunization Clinic typically provides this vaccination for students after their 11th birthday. It protects against lockjaw, breathing disorders due to a thick covering in the back of the throat, and whooping cough.

Students allergic to the vaccine should not receive it; epileptics or others with central nervous system disorders need to consult a physician before being vaccinated with it. The vaccine's most common side effects are pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, mild fever, headache, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach ache.

Sergeant Andrade-Borbor added all seventh- through 12th-grade students need to be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis. That vaccine, Menactra, is also required for most college students.

Menactra can prevent four types of meningitis, including two of the three most common types. The vaccine consists of one dose and is about 90 percent effective. Immunity from meningitis lasts for five years after receiving the vaccination. Anyone pregnant, allergic to the vaccine, or who's had Guillain-Barre Syndrome should avoid vaccination. Most common side effects include redness or soreness at the site and fever.

Lastly, the Immunization Clinic offers, but doesn't require, the Gardasil vaccination.
"We do recommend it," Sergeant Andrade-Borbor said. 

Gardasil was created to prevent cervical cancer caused by the four major types of Human Papillomavirus. It's recommended for girls and for women ages 9 to 26 and consists of a three-dose series. 

To receive more information or to get immunizations, visit the Randolph Immunizations Clinic. The hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday -- except for the last Wednesday of the month when the clinic closes at noon for training. No appointment is necessary.

To learn more, contact the Center for Disease Control (CDC) by phone at 1-800-232-4636 or visit the web site at www.cdc.gov/vaccines, and the local/state health departments.

For further questions, contact the Randolph Immunizations Clinic at 210-652-3279.