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State and Local Officials Emphasize Importance of Children Getting Vaccinations Against COVID-19, Other Immunizations Ahead of Returning to School

08/11/2022

Pittsburgh, PA - Wolf Administration officials today joined local school and health leaders, along with a parent, to educate and encourage others to get children vaccinated against COVID-19 before school starts.  

Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson and Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Meg Snead joined Dr. Rodney Necciai, Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services at Pittsburgh Public Schools and Dr. Debra Bogen, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department along with a local parent who recently had their child vaccinated, also emphasized the importance of receiving required, routine vaccinations ahead of returning to school this fall.  

“As children complete their routine vaccinations and head back to the classroom this fall, I strongly encourage students to get fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 even if they have already had COVID-19,” said Dr. Johnson. “Vaccinations have proven to be effective to prevent severe disease – and there is a safe vaccine available now to best protect our youngest learners from contracting COVID-19.” 

“As a mom, I want to do everything I can to keep my kids safe as they head back to school. One easy thing I could do was make sure they got their COVID-19 vaccines,” said Snead. “COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe, and effective, and they help protect children and families from serious illness. I encourage all fellow parents and guardians in Pennsylvania to get their kids vaccinated before the school year starts.” 

In partnership with UPMC, Pittsburgh Public Schools continues to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to children and their families, including but not limited to the approved pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for ages six months to four years. The school district will host its next community COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Aug. 29 and 30; appointments are required and can be made by visiting www.pghschools.org/backandvaxxed.  

“As we prepare to bring students back to school, we want to do all we can to keep students in the classroom and limit disruptions to learning,” said Dr. Necciai. “We continue to hold vaccination clinics, in partnership with UPMC, to ensure staff, students, and their families can stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations.” 

“As a pediatrician, I focus on preventing illness and promoting health,” said Dr. Bogen. “Vaccinations are effective prevention tools including the COVID-19 vaccines which prevent severe disease in people of all ages. Please – to protect everyone in our schools – I ask everyone to get their COVID-19 and other age-appropriate vaccines.” 

In addition to upcoming vaccine clinic opportunities like the ones involving Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pennsylvanians can find a vaccine provider at vaccines.gov.  

While COVID-19 is not a required vaccination for those returning to school, there are other vaccinations that are required for children to enter and attend school in Pennsylvania. The vaccination requirements to enter and attend school vary depending on grade level, but all grade school students are required to receive at least:  

  • Four doses of tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis 
  • Four doses of polio (unless the third dose was administered at age 4 years or older and at least six months after the previous dose then there are only three doses required) 
  • Two doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) 
  • Three doses of hepatitis B 
  • Two doses of varicella (chickenpox) or evidence of immunity 

For information relating to required vaccinations for students in school, please visit www.health.pa.gov.  

MEDIA CONTACTS:    Mark O’Neill, DOH ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov 

 Brandon Cwalina, DHS – ra-pwdhspressoffice@pa.gov  

                                                                   

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