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 Required Immunizations for Day Care/Preschool and Sixth Grade

Kids holding handsIn 2008, four vaccines were added to the schedule of immunizations children must have to attend school, preschool and licensed child care centers in New Jersey.

These most recent requirements, described below, affect children entering day care/preschool and those entering sixth grade, or transferring to a New Jersey school in or after sixth grade.

New Jersey’s full schedule of required vaccines is available in the Immunization Regulations section below.

Day Care and Preschool

As of September 2008, children attending licensed child care or preschool were required to receive two additional vaccines:

  • annual, seasonal influenza vaccine by December 31 of each year, and

  • pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.

However, because seasonal influenza vaccine is currently in such limited supply, the Commissioner is temporarily suspending, for the 2009-2010 academic year, the requirement that children six months through 59 months of age attending a child care center or preschool facility receive at least one dose of influenza vaccine.

DOH still strongly recommends that that these children receive seasonal influenza vaccine if it becomes available.

About H1N1 Flu Vaccine

The Department strongly recommends children over six months of age receive H1N1 flu vaccine when it becomes available later this year. However, H1N1 vaccine will not fulfill the seasonal flu vaccine requirement for day care/preschool.  Children should receive both vaccines for maximum protection against both flu strains.

More on New Jersey’s Immunization Regulations.

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Sixth Grade

As of September 2008, sixth grade students in public and private schools are required to receive two additional vaccines:

  • tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine (Tdap), and
  • meningococcal vaccine.

Students will be excluded from school if they do not get the required vaccines and do not have a valid medical or religious exemption.

More Information About the Vaccine Requirement
A student born on or after January 1, 1997 who is entering sixth grade must receive both the Tdap and meningococcal vaccines before the first day of school.  Students who are 10 years old when entering sixth grade are not required to get meningococcal conjugate vaccine (the preferred vaccine is Menactra) until they turn 11.  Within two weeks of the 11th birthday, students must show documentation that they received the vaccine.

Tdap can be given at age 10, at the earliest, depending on the type of vaccine available through the child’s health care provider.  If the physician only carries Adacel, the child will not be required to get the vaccine until age 11.  If Boostrix is available, the Department encourages that it be administered when the child is 10.

About Transfer Students –Students who transfer into a New Jersey school for sixth grade or a higher grade also must meet the requirements.  Contact the school nurse for more information or refer to the Immunization Q & A below.

More on New Jersey’s Immunization Regulations.

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Immunization Regulations

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Medical and Religious Exemptions

New Jersey’s immunization regulations provide for medical and religious exemptions.  Objections to vaccination that are of a philosophical, moral, secular or of a more general nature are not acceptable.

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Where to Go for Vaccinations

If you are uninsured and do not have a health care provider, here are some resources:

  • Community Health Centers offer affordable health care, including immunizations, based on your ability to pay. 
  • Local health departments may hold Child Health Conferences that offer vaccinations.  Call your local health department to learn more.
  • Find a Flu Shot – Search for flu clinics in your area on the Find a Flu Shot page.  Please note some clinics have age or residency requirements.

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Links for More Information

For Parents:  Why Immunize? -- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Vaccines and Preventable Diseases – U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Immunization Action Coalition  – National organization that creates and distributes accurate, up-to-date immunization information for the public and health professionals.  In addition to its web site, the coalition has several publications and listservs.

DOH Vaccine Preventable Disease Program

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Department of Health

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Last Modified: Monday, 01-Apr-13 11:11:34