Falling in line with federal recommendations, state health officials are requiring chicken pox vaccinations or proof of the disease of all Indiana students in the 2013-14 school year.
“We’ve had five outbreaks in the last six months of chicken pox, three within school systems,” said Dr. Greg Larkin, state health commissioner. “We decided to proceed to the full recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control that the children either have the two vaccines or written statement from their physician that the child has actually had the chicken pox infection.”
Along with requiring two valid doses of varicella vaccine, the Indiana State Department of Health is recommending kindergarteners receive two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine and 11th & 12th graders receive booster shots to protect against meningitis.
“With two the protection is a lot stronger and it’s been shown that when these children go on to college or other similar settings, that’s where this disease is the highest so these vaccines are important,” said Larkin.
During the last school year, Noblesville schools faced a measles scare as several cases of the disease were reported in Hamilton County.
Satchuel Cole was contacted by school officials who warned her that her son, Zavion, would have to receive the measles shot or stay home from school because he was not immunized.
“And that put me in a very precarious situation because I’m a single mom,” said Cole. “So if he’s not in school, it’s really hard for me to work.”
The outbreak was contained. Zavion, now a first grader, never got the shot and he won’t receive the chicken pox vaccination for second grade.
“The risk of chicken pox, you know, obviously there is a risk,” said Cole, “but the risk of him having such adverse reactions to all of the chemicals that are in the vaccines is even greater and I am just cautious and leery about what it could do to him neurologically with all the chemicals that are in the vaccines.
Cole said her son has been diagnosed as autistic and her doctor stands behind her decision.
“There’s no need for that,” said Larkin, “and the science is so safe behind this vaccine.”
Cole said she belongs to a Facebook group, Indy Moms, where parents share her concerns about vaccinations.
“Some of us that are just deadest that we are not going to vaccinate, we are not going to put these chemicals in our children’s bodies. This definitely puts us in a position where you know we’re going to have to defend our position and really see how far we can take this,” Cole said.
“We will see how far the state digs their heels in and how far I will dig mine in.”