Parents: Students need school vaccinations

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN TV) - As families prepare for the start of another school year, one of the biggest issues remains student vaccinations.

According to Rapid City Area Schools, last year, nearly 90 percent of incoming sixth graders did not have the vaccinations required by state law to attend school.

In 2016, the South Dakota State Legislature passed a law requiring incoming sixth graders to receive two vaccines: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) and Meningococcal (MCV4).

This year, RCAS has partnered with Regional Health to ensure the majority of sixth grade students will receive the required vaccinations before the first day of school.

Regional Health will set up booths at a number of middle school open houses. Representatives will hand out information about when and where the vaccines are available, as well as the cost.

For patients with Medicaid, Indian Healthcare Services or no insurance, the vaccines are free. There is a small administrative fee to receive the vaccines. Most insurance companies do cover required immunizations.

For more information on vaccination requirements, go to the South Dakota Department of Health website.

Wyoming’s Department of Health is also pushing to get students vaccinated for the new school year.

“Certain important vaccines are required for all youth attending our schools and childcare facilities, with other vaccines also recommended to help keep Wyoming families healthy,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state epidemiologist and acting state health officer with WDH.

“We see cases every year in Wyoming of diseases that can generally be prevented with vaccinations,” she said. “In some areas of the country, there have been recent outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles that had mostly been eliminated from the United States. These outbreaks have been largely due to community pockets of lower vaccination rates.”

To learn more about Wyoming vaccine requirements, recommendations, resources and records, visit the WDH Wyoming Immunization Program online at or call (307) 777-7952.