By Rod Rose For the Times Sentinel
Zionsville Times Sentinel
Haley Smart, 5½, sat on her mom’s lap and listened carefully to the instructions from nurse Cindy Murphy.
“Look at Minnie Mouse,” said Murphy, an RN and the administrator of the Boone County Health Department.
Haley, who will be in kindergarten this fall at Clinton Prairie, and her mother, Leah Smart, looked up at the stuffed toy on the wall of an exam room.
“Now, take a deep breath, and blow it out,” Murphy said.
Haley, eyes firmly fixed on Minnie Mouse, puffed.
Murphy smoothly slid a syringe into Haley’s right arm.
Haley kept puffing.
“Very good,” Murphy said. “Now, turn around on mom’s lap and look at the Muppets poster.”
“There’s Kermit!” said Haley, who was as oblivious to the second shot as the first.
Haley was one of several children receiving another of the mandatory vaccinations required by the Indiana State Department of Health before they may attend school. This year, every child must have had two vaccinations against varicella (chickenpox), or provide proof they have had the disease. Before this year, only one vaccination was required.
Widespread outbreaks of chickenpox last year prompted the change, Indiana State Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Joan Duwve, M.D. , said in a press release. “This new requirement will help stop the spread of this preventable disease and keep kids healthy and in school.”
One of those outbreaks was in November 2012 in Vigo County, when more than 90 people were infected; state health officials kept more than 230 children from
ing school until they had received additional shots.
Outbreaks were reported early this year at elementary schools in LaGrange and Kosciusko counties.
Boone County experienced a chickenpox outbreak in September 2010, when 13 cases were verified among students and adults at Zionsville Community High School.
The Boone County Health Department has been working with local schools to prepare for the new requirements.
“We went into local elementary schools in the spring and tried to get out in front of the requirements,” Murphy said Tuesday, July 30. “We had a pretty good turnout.”
Those vaccinations were given to students who will be in the sixth grade this fall, Murphy said.
“Throughout the summer, our clinics have been busy with kindergartners and sixth-grade students as they are preparing for the new requirements,” she said. “We’ve seen lots of kindergartners.”
A steady but not overwhelming number of children have been brought to the health department’s office at 116 W. Washington St. for shots this summer, Murphy said. “We really haven’t had a rush; we’ve been able to accommodate the need.”
Murphy said “the strong network we have” with school nurses has contributed to parent awareness of the need for vaccinations and options for obtaining them.
Other vaccinations are required for children attending school.
Kindergarteners, and first- and second-graders must have received three hepatitis B; five diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP); four polio; two measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); and two hepatitis A vaccinations; as well as the varicella shots.
Sixth- through 10th-graders must have three hepatitis B, five DTaP, four polio, two MMR, two Tdap (a DTaP booster), and one meningococcal conjugate (MCV4) vaccinations.
Vaccination requirements for high school juniors and seniors are the same as for sixth- through 10th-graders, although two MCV4 shots are recommended. If a person receives the first MCV4 shot on or after their 16th birthday, the second shot is not necessary.
State health officials recommend, although do not require, that students also receive two doses of hepatitis A vaccine and an annual flu shot. All adolescents should also receive a human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination. Those 16 to 18 should receive a booster dose of meningitis vaccine.
Classes begin on Aug. 8 in the Lebanon Community School Corp., Aug. 14 in the Zionsville Community Schools, and Aug. 15 in the Western Boone County Community School Corp.