Missoula schools will be opening for fall classes this week, and the Missoula City County Health Department wants parents to know their children must be properly immunized before being allowed to attend classes.

Immunization Clinic Supervisor with the Missoula City County Health Department Sara Heineman said on Monday, August 26, that immunization requirements vary from grade to grade.

"For kindergarten, children need to be up to date on their polio, their DTAP and the MMR," Heineman said. "Then for middle school, they have to have a tetanus vaccine, including the TDAP, which has the pertussis component in it for whooping cough, and those are the only required vaccines."

Heineman said there are recommended vaccines that are helpful in keeping school children healthy.

"For the teenagers we recommend the hepatitis A, there's chicken pox, the HPV - which is the cervical cancer vaccine, and then meningitis is the other one," Heineman said." So, kids who come in and think they're getting just one shot usually end up leaving with four or five shots."

Heineman said the vaccinations are not free, but can be provided at a reduced cost depending upon household income.

"There are vaccines available from the state, so we never turn anyone age 18 and under away due to inability to pay," she said. "Parents who bring their children in to the health department for vaccinations at this late date should be prepared for long lines, and that we have extra staff on hand to move people along as quickly and effectively as possible."

Immunization Clinic Supervisor with the Missoula City County Health Department, Sara Heineman: