In accordance with Public Health Law Section 2164, ISB requires that students are fully vaccinated to attend school. Vaccines are required to promote the health of individual students and the student body as a whole. Vaccine work by allowing your child's immune system to learn how to fight off a disease without having to get sick first.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is in a vaccine?
Vaccinations are made up of antigens, adjuvents, preservatives, and stabilizers.
Antigens are either dead or weakened portions of the disease-causing virus or bacteria that the vaccine is teaching your body to fight off.
Adjuvents are materials, like aluminum salts, that help your body have a strong immune reaction to the antigen.
Preservatives are materials that help to extend the shelf-life of vaccines and are usually only necessary in multi-use vials. Most vaccines are packaged in individual syringes and do not require preservatives.
Stabilizers, including sugar or gelatin, help to keep the antigen stable against temperature changes during storage.
How do vaccinations work?
Vaccines work by exposing your immune system to either a portion of a virus or bacteria or a dead version of a virus or bacteria so your immune system can learn how to recognize the antigen and fight it off. After this first introduction, your body is equipped to properly respond to the virus/bacteria should you come across it later in life.
Vaccines also work by establishing herd immunity. A disease requires hosts to survive and replicate, which means a virus or bacteria needs susceptible people to infect. If a population has enough people who are vaccinated against a disease, the virus or bacteria will not be able to replicate and therefore will be unable to thrive or establish itself in a population. This acts to protect the people who cannot get vaccinated due to health or age. This principle is known as herd immunity.
What vaccinations are required for school?
New York City requires the following vaccines throughout a student’s school career:
- DTaP/Tdap: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis
- IPV or OPV: polio
- MMR: measles, mumps, and rubella*
- Hepatitis B
- Varicella (chickenpox)**
- Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type B (required for 3K, 4K, & 5K)
- PCV: pneumococcal conjugate (required for 3K, 4K, & 5K)
- MenACWY: meningococcal conjugate
- Influenza (required for 3K and 4K)
*Positive titer can be accepted in lieu of vaccination
**Proof of illness signed by a physician is also accepted
Please see the Immunization Schedule for the required vaccinations by grade.
If your child cannot receive one or more vaccinations due to medical contraindications, please have their physician fill out this form
Do I have the option for religious exemption from vaccinations?
As of June 13th, 2019, New York State no longer allows for religious exemptions. The law now requires for all students in New York public, private, and parochial schools to be fully up-to-date on their vaccinations by the 14th day of the school year. If your student is behind on vaccinations, they will have to begin all required vaccine series and have a letter signed by their doctor stating the plan for catching up on immunizations. The School Nurse can assist in maintaining this schedule so your student can get up-to-date as soon as possible.
Are vaccines safe?
In the media, there have been a lot of questions popping up about the safety of vaccines. Some fear that vaccines may cause autism, an idea which has been popularized by a select few in the public eye. There have been multiple studies performed on large sample sizes in many countries that show no correlation or causation between vaccination and autism.
Others are concerned about the adjuvents in vaccines and whether they are safe to introduce to the body. All adjuvents that are used in vaccines, like aluminum salts, are thoroughly tested in clinical trials before the vaccine is released, and continue to be monitored for safety by the FDA and CDC.
Another concern that some have is the amount of vaccines given in a short period of time, and whether or not that can overwhelm a child’s immune system. When infants are born, they have a naive immune system that is built for learning all about antigens it comes across. Babies come across hundreds of new antigens a day, so introducing 2-4 in one visit to the doctor is not going to overwhelm the immune system. Your child may experience symptoms like a slight fever or aches after a vaccination. These symptoms are a natural immune response and are a positive sign that their body is learning to fight off the antigen.
If you have any further concerns or questions regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, please contact the School Nurse.
Is getting a flu shot important?
Getting your yearly flu shot is vital to both your health and the health of your community. The influenza virus mutates, or changes, regularly. Every year the flu vaccine is formulated for the most common strains at that time. The more people who get the flu shot, the more likely we are to establish herd immunity. While the flu can be a mild annoyance for some people, it is a serious illness that causes tens of thousands of hospitalizations and deaths every year. By getting your flus hot, you are not only protecting yourself from the most common flu strains, but you are also helping to keep the flu at bay for those who are unable to get vaccinations or are at risk for contracting the flu.
It is also important to not that you cannot get the flu from the flu shot. The flu shot is a dead virus that cannot make you sick. You may feel some achiness and have a slight fever, but these are your body's immune system learning how to fight off the flu.
Do I need vaccinations as an adult?
Yes! Certain vaccinations require boosters throughout your life and some vaccinations, like Hep B, can be given at any age if you did not receive them as a child. Vaccines that require regular boosters are Tdap, Meningococcal, and the flu. The HPV vaccine has also been recently approved to be administered to adults ages 27-45. Ask your doctor at your next check-up to go over your immunization chart and decide what vaccines you are due for.