The state health department is requiring kindergarten and seventh-grade students to get additional vaccinations this school year. Failure to receive the immunizations or provide proof of updated shot records by Sept. 15 could lead to the exclusion of students from school.

Charles County Public Schools kindergarten students are now required to have two doses of the Varicella, or chickenpox, vaccine and seventh graders must have one dose of the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis/whooping cough) and one dose of the Meningitis (MCV4/Meningococcal) vaccine. These are new requirements for the 2014-15 school year from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and updated shot records for these students must be provided to the school within the first 20 calendar days of the school year.

The 20-day calendar rule is required by law under the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). By law, if proof of immunization (an updated shot record) is not provided to the school by Monday, Sept. 15, students will be suspended. Students will be reinstated once proof of the new vaccinations is received.

Students can receive the new vaccinations from their physician. The Charles County Department of Health is also hosting vaccination clinics on Thursday, Sept. 4 and Thursday, Sept. 11, both from 3 to 7 p.m., to provide students in kindergarten and seventh grades with the new vaccinations required this school year.

The Charles County Department of Health is located at 4545 Crain Highway, White Plains, Md., 20695. Appointments for either clinic are preferred and can be made by calling the Health Department at 301-609-6900, ext. 6018. Parents attending the clinics should bring a copy of their child’s shot record.

These are in addition to the already required vaccines of DTaP, polio, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), chickenpox (Varicella), hepatitis B, Hib and prevnar.

The MCV4 vaccination protects students from certain meningococcal bacteria that can lead to meningitis or sepsis. After students are initially vaccinated before seventh grade, an additional booster shot is recommended at age 16. Typically, MCV4 is a required vaccination for college/university students; however the State Department of Health has found it necessary for students age eleven and older to receive these vaccinations.

As for Tdap, the original vaccination received in early childhood for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (DTaP) wears off; therefore a supplemental booster shot is suggested at age eleven for continued protection against the bacteria that causes these diseases.

Parents with questions about the vaccinations should contact their child’s physician or the nurse at their child’s school.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.