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Public Health

As another school year wraps up and families are planning for summer, North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) is reminding parents and caregivers to make sure their children are current on immunizations. Many pediatric and family practice clinics throughout the state are already booking wellness and physical activity appointments into the next few months. Making an appointment now ensures that your child is ready for the upcoming school year.

Families should consult with their primary care provider or local public health unit to see if their children are up to date on recommended immunizations. Children enrolled in North Dakota Medicaid can receive immunizations during their annual Health Tracks/Well-Child visits. 

For school-required vaccines, most children will need the following by school entry:

Kindergarten (4-6 years old)

  • Hepatitis B: three doses
  • Polio: four doses
  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis): five doses
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella): two doses
  • Varicella (chickenpox): two doses

7th Grade (11-12 years old)

  • Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis): one dose
  • Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV4, MenACWY): one dose

11th Grade (16 years old)

  • Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV4, MenACWY): second dose

North Dakota school immunization rates have been dropping in recent years. This is due to the COVID-19 pandemic but can also be attributed to an increase in non-medical exemptions and non-compliance. During the 2022-23 school year, statewide kindergarten immunization rates were 91.62% for DTaP, 91.76% for polio, 93.53% for hepatitis B, 91.83% for MMR and 91.29% for chickenpox. Personal belief exemption rates are at 3.16% and religious exemptions are at 1.65%. Immunization rates vary by county and school. Low immunization rates may lead to vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks in schools, unnecessary illnesses and missed days of learning.

“Measles is highly contagious,” said Danni Pinnick, HHS Immunization Surveillance Coordinator. “Nine in 10 people who are not fully vaccinated become infected when they are exposed to the virus.” 

For more information about North Dakota school immunization requirements, including exemptions, please visit our website. Information on how to access your child’s North Dakota immunization record, or request an official copy of their record, can be found here.

To learn more about ND Medicaid Health Tracks benefit, visit hhs.nd.gov/health-tracks.

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