State of Montana Health Alert Network
Date: May 27, 2015
Subject: Changes in School Immunization Requirements effective October 1, 2015
Background: The 2015 Montana Legislature revised school immunization requirements for school attendance through the passage of House Bill (HB) 158. The law, signed by the Governor and effective October 1, 2015, requires students attending school be vaccinated against varicella disease (chickenpox) and receive a booster of pertussis vaccine at 7th grade.
Information: New requirements will be based upon the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) recommendations. The information below provides a brief overview of current recommendations:
Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine
Students in kindergarten through 12th grade will need to have two doses of varicella vaccine. In lieu of receiving the varicella vaccine, we anticipate the rule will allow evidence of immunity to varicella virus. Options will include:
• Laboratory evidence of immunity or laboratory confirmation of disease
• Diagnosis or verification of a history of varicella disease by a health-care provider (MD, DO, NP, PA)
• Diagnosis or verification of a history of herpes zoster by a health-care provider (MD, DO, NP or PA)
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) will be required for students prior to attending 7th grade. Students currently in grades 8th-12th who have not yet received their Tdap will require a single dose.
Since the duration of immunity as a result of pertussis is not clearly established, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the AC IP do not encourage the use of history of illness as an exemption for pertussis vaccination. Montana’s rules will be consistent with this recommendation.
Exemptions and Conditional Attendance
No changes in exemptions or conditional attendance procedures were made in the law. As long as students have received at least one vacci ne in the required series, a student may qualify for a conditional attendance as allowed by current regulations. Additionally, medical and religious exemptions are still allowed with appropriate documentation.
Recommendations: Local health jurisdictions should share this advisory with their local school contacts. School contacts should anticipate further communication from state and local public health during the summer to assist with the transition.
Department of Public Health and Human Services
Public Health & Safety Division ♦ Communicable Disease Control & Prevention Bureau Immunization
Program ♦ PO Box 202951 ♦ 1400 Broadway St ♦ Helena, MT 59620-2951 Phone: (406) 444-5580 ♦ Fax:
Steve Bullock, Governor Richard H. Opper, Director
Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccination has been recently added to the list of required immunizations in the state of Montana. For the upcoming school year all K-12 students will need to show proof of varicella immunity. This can be done in the following ways:
? 2 varicella immunizations at least 3 months apart, after the age of 1 year. (Note, we will allow attendance for students who have received the first shot and waiting for the second)
? A doctor’s note stating disease history, acceptable from MD, DO, NP, or PA
? Positive blood titer (blood test) result
? If you have a religious objection to immunizations, you must complete and notarize the Montana Religious Exemption Form HES-113 (Dec. 2011) and provide it to the school EACH school year.
Your child will not be allowed to attend school unless documentation has been provided to the school prior to the state deadline of October 1, 2015. The sooner you can provide this information the better for the sake of your child and our schools.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call your child’s school. You may also call the Flathead City-County Health Department at 751-8110.
Thank you for helping us keep your child’s file up to date with state vaccination laws.
Kalispell Public Schools