WILLIAMSON - Information is being sent to area schools and local physicians outlining the requirements for immunizations for the school year of 2012-2013.
During the January monthly meeting of the Mingo County Health Department Board, Administrator Cathy Headen spoke of these changes, saying that new rules were in place that will affect incoming seventh and twelfth graders.
“Seventh graders must show proof of a booster dose of Tdap vaccine which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) and a dose of MCV4 (meningitis),” said Headen.
“Twelfth graders also must show proof of a single dose of Tdap, plus a booster dose of MCV4 if the first dose was given before the child’s sixteenth birthday. If the first one was administered after this birthday, a booster dose is not required.”
Bernice Johnson, nurse supervisor for the health department, relayed that three West Virginia counties - Berkley, Hancock and Morgan - have experienced pertussis outbreaks, with a total of 38 confirmed cases.
“We strongly recommend getting immunized against whooping cough,” said Johnson.
She stated that children typically contract the disease from their caregivers, and encourages parents to be inoculated. She also spoke of the importance of elderly people who spend time around young children to do the same.
“Anyone over the age of seven can receive the vaccination,” Johnson said.
Johnson also reminded the public that free flu shots are still available on Tuesdays and Fridays between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Health department board Chairman Greg “Hootie” Smith and board member Albert Totten were absent from the meeting. Co-Chairman Jarrod Belcher and board members Franklin Cisco and Ray Curry were in attendance.
The financial report was delivered by Tina Lockard of the Mingo County Commission and a motion was made and seconded to accept it as read. Headen discussed the renovations and improvements made to the handicap ramp at the municipal building where the health dept. is housed, saying that the changes bring the building up to state codes. She also commented that barriers are now in place that prevents unauthorized parking to the left side of the building where the emergency exit and handicap ramp are located.
Representatives of the health department will be attending a workshop in Huntington to be trained on the “Electronic Disease Surveillance System”.
All reportable diseases must be entered into this program, which can be accessed and utilized by all state health departments. The diseases that are documented and followed include HIV, hepatitis, chlamydia, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The health department will be sponsoring “Go Red for Women” during the month of February, a day set aside to promote heart health, obesity concerns and other health issues affecting females. More information will be released regarding the date and any events planned that are associated with the cause.
For more information on the changed requirements for immunizations or any other topics relating to the health department, call (304) 235-3570.