Vaccinations: What’s Required Of Students In SD, Who Can Get Exemptions

The Sioux Falls School District says it’s a good time to talk about vaccinations after the Minnesota State Department of Health has now confirmed 32 cases of the measles. All of the cases in Minnesota involve children 5 years and younger and almost all them had not gotten a vaccine to protect against the virus.

“A new student to the district needs to supply us with their immunization records,” said Sioux Falls School District Health Services Supervisor Molly Satter.

Satter says state law requires kindergarteners to have four vaccines before starting school. The vaccines protect against a number of different diseases, including pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, and the chickenpox.

“The middle school students, they are required to have that meningitis vaccine, that’s kind of a new one starting last year, that began. They’re also required to have a DTaP booster,” said Satter.

But there are some students in school districts throughout South Dakota who haven’t been vaccinated. State law allows students to get a religious exemption which requires only a parent’s signature. Another excuse: if the immunization would endanger a student’s life or health.

Satter said, “Medical exemptions are really, they’re fewer and far between and that’s because those are children who maybe have a compromised immune system and their doctors signs off saying they aren’t able to.”

These students are the reason Satter says it’s vital for the majority to get vaccinations.

“We’re able to kind of protect them when the rest of us who are able to get vaccines are vaccinated,” said Satter. “It’s just really important to making sure that our students are healthy, that our community is healthy.”

The Sioux Falls School District says they last pulled their immunization records in 2015, the last time South Dakota reported a case of the measles. Then, 1.42 percent of their students were not vaccinated against Measles, Mumps and Rubella. According to their statistics, 0.8 percent were due to either a religious or medical exemption. The remaining 0.62% were in process of getting shots, meaning they may have had to wait a certain amount of time before they could go in to get their next dose.


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