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NEWS10 in the Classroom: State requirements for school vaccinations

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Back to school is right around the corner, and for many parents, the timeline to get things done before that first day is running out fast.

Pediatrician Dr. Jim Saperstone says it is a lot for first time parents when sending a child off to kindergarten or first grade and there are many things to remember especially when it comes to their child's health.

"The schools are demanding more documentation," says Dr. Saperstone.  "So all of that work means we need to get parents to call us early so we can get that organized for them."

The state of New York requires all students to be vaccinated against numerous diseases including polio, measles and hepatitis B.  Only those with written medical or religious reasons can be exempt, but still it is up to the school to make the final decision on whether or not to admit a child without up-to-date immunizations.

"There are a few religious exemptions that can be documented," says Dr. Saperstone.  "But a lot of this is fear and a lot of this is reading information that gives parents material that isn't scientifically based."

Dr. Saperstone says for parents who are a little resistant or hesitant to the idea of vaccines he just takes it slow.

Physicals are also required for students entering kindergarten, second, fourth, seventh and tenth grades.  With only a few weeks left before the new school year, the sooner parents can get their child seen by a pediatrician the better.

"Parents have to make that rush to get that appointment to the doctor's office and everyone does it at the last minute," says Dr. Saperstone.  "So my best advice for immunizations is to call early because we are swamped the June, July and August before school."

Many doctor's offices will fax your child's health records directly to the school, but your best bet is to make copies of everything.  Keep a copy for your own records and then make sure the school has everything it needs before your child starts the new year to help cut down on confusion and frustration.

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