Pennsylvania extends vaccine requirements for seniors

Leanne Khov, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Beginning of the 2017-2018 year, many seniors at Neshaminy High School were threatened to face exclusion from the school. Surprisingly, the reason was not for violating school rules. Rather, it was because of the student’s inability to meet the health requirements initiated this year. Starting in Aug. 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has changed the immunizations regulations for attendance in Pennsylvania schools. These new regulations are to ensure that students are protected from any potential outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. For students entering the twelfth grade, they are required to have at least one dose of the Meningococcal conjugate vaccine that is administered at 16 years of age or older. The students are required to send a copy of their immunization record to the school’s nurse. Seniors had until the fifth day of the school year, Sept. 7, to show their completed vaccination requirement or else the school is forced to exclude the student from attending school.
According to the New York Department of Health, vaccination for the Meningococcal disease is necessary due to the concern of spreading the infection. The disease can spread easily in large groups of people, especially through sneezing, coughing, and etc. Since teens and young adults have the highest risk of contracting the disease, it is necessary for them to receive the vaccination to prevent meningitis (infections of the linings of the brain and spinal cord) and sepsis (infections in the blood) from occurring. “The vaccination is very important for kids. We are ensured that they are protected from meningitis before they officially head off to college,” stated NHS nurses, Joanne Strack and Cynthia Wells.
At the start of the school year, this new vaccination requirement left students in a predicament; they were forced to choose between receiving the vaccine or becoming excluded from school. Plans to receive the vaccination and proof that the shot was administered were needed by the due date to prevent that possible retention from school. Many seniors are still left without receiving their required shots. Although NHS was very strict with their requirement, it has yet to carry out their warning they had pressed to the students earlier this year. Despite the imposing threat to be excluded from school, none of the seniors were forced to leave.