Indiana Closes Vaccine Gap: Wait List for Required Shots Twice as Long for Some Kids

Two factors have prompted the delay in vaccines required for children enrolled in the Perry County Schools in Indiana.

Emergency legislation passed by the state’s legislature last week signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb will lengthen the wait list for vaccine exemptions for most children enrolled in the district to 10 calendar months, according to Andrew Norman, a spokesman for Holcomb. The new law will go into effect on April 2.

The second factor is a change to a federal recommendation for preventing whooping cough. Many children enroll in the Perry County Schools in the first half of the school year to begin receiving two whooping cough vaccines. The recommendation now is that children get the full series of whooping cough shots when they are between 9 and 10 years old.

State-mandated vaccines were expected to start after the holidays, Norman said.

“Dr. Deb Sowards, the physician for Perry County Schools and Children’s Hospital here in Indianapolis, said that she wasn’t sure how many students will receive the full series of shots,” Norman said. “Currently, the number that will be receiving the full series of vaccinations for whooping cough is more than enough to comply with the new law, since the new law says children have to be vaccinated. However, there will be a waiting list for some students.”

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