Children's vaccine requirements change July 1

Requirements for vaccines mandated for entry into school, day care, preschool and Head Start are changing effective July 1, the state Department for Public Health announced Tuesday.

The new requirements better align Kentucky with national standards recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health officials say. And because some of the changes reflect long-established CDC guidelines, many children may already have received the shots now required by the state.

The new regulation requires age appropriate vaccination with pneumococcal vaccine for children up to 5 years of age, and a dose of meningococcal vaccine for those entering sixth grade.

In addition, a second dose of varicella vaccine will be required for those entering kindergarten and sixth grade. A dose of tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine will be required for entry into sixth grade and a second dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is now required for children by the age of 6.

All certificates for school or day-care entry submitted on July 1 or after, should meet the new requirements. Parents can consult with their family doctor or local health department about the changes.

Local health departments and Vaccine for Children providers can help those who can't afford vaccinations. For more information go to