Chickenpox Vaccine Mandatory

Published: Jul. 29, 2002 at 10:27 PM CDT
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Mississippi children entering daycare and kindergarten will be required to be protected against chickenpox this school year.  Children who do not have either proof of vaccination or proof of having natural  immunity to the disease will not be allowed to enter preschool or kindergarten.

State health officials hope the new requirement will boost state vaccination levels.  Kids twelve months and older are eligible for the vaccine, but currently only about 55.7% of children ages 19 to 35 months are vaccinated.

While usually a mild childhood disease, chickenpox can result in serious complications and even lead to death.  Before the vaccine became available in 1996, chickenpox caused more than 11,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths each year in the U.S.

These are the Mississippi requirements:

-Children with a history of chickenpox will not require the vaccine-a parental history of chickenpox will be accepted

-Exemption to this requirement may also be based on valid medical contraindications

-This requirement does not apply to children already enrolled in school