School children are headed back to class with their tablets and pencils and pens and, state officials hope, their shots. State law requires children to have the basic shots for diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, and tetanus and for the first time, regardless of grade, Hepatitis B. The State Health Department’s Sue Denney keeps watch on infectious deases in the state. The law says children can be kicked out of school if they don’t have their shots or don’t have an allowable exemption. It rarely happens. She says the shots are not usually a last-minute thing for kindergartners. At the other end of the scale, if you will, is a new requirement for college students. A new law requires freshmen attending public colleges have to have inoculations against meningitis, or sign a waiver saying they’re aware of the risks they assume if they don’t have the shots.
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