Before Chatham children can grab their backpack and head out the door for the first day of school on Sept. 6, they must endure that most essential and disagreeable rite of passage, their annual immunizations.
Any local pediatrician or nurse practitioner can administer the required immunizations for the 2012-13 school year, which include:
- Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP or DTaP)
- Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap).
- Rubella and mumps
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Haemophilus influenzae B (Hib)
- Hepatitis B
Karen Leister, the lead school nurse within the , said New Jersey school districts do not set immunization requirements. "Rather," she said, the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DOHSS) "establishes immunization requirements for all children" enrolled in child care programs, preschools, pre-kindergarten programs, kindergarten or grades 1 to 12.
The state Department of Education requires proof of immunization when students are registered for school. Unless a student requests exemption for religious or medical reasons, "students may not register for school or be admitted without proof of immunization," Leister said.
School nurses such as Leister, who is based at , review immunization records and report them to the state. These records are audited annually by the DOHSS, and locally through the Department of Health in Madison. School districts can be fined for errors or omissions from the reports.
"School nurses spend considerable time on creating and maintaining these records--to protect the district from liability and to support the public health goals of the DOHSS," Leister said.
Information on the diseases, their symptoms, possible consequences and immunization requirements .