The secretary of the Department of Education Eligio Hernández Pérez, joined the vaccination campaign led by the organization VOCES (Coalition for Immunization and Health Promotion of Puerto Rico ) to urge parents of public system students to comply with the vaccination requirements and keep young children healthy even while being estranged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The head of Education, beyond making the public call as part of the requirements that Law 25 requires of the agency, indicated that the primary interest is that parents are aware of the importance of vaccinating their children to avoid contagion from others diseases and conditions such as influenza.
“Our call has always been to prioritize health over other considerations, vaccinating our children and young people prevents them from being infected with other severe conditions. Being in the middle of a pandemic due to COVID-19 we must vaccinate them as a preventive and health measure. It is important that parents collaborate in this effort that we make together with an entity that has been creating a culture of vaccination in our society for years, ”Hernández Pérez expressed in writing.
Despite the fact that the first weeks of the start of Classes will be virtual with the various modalities that the DE advanced a few weeks ago, the process of keeping the students' vaccinations up to date is the responsibility of the parents. They must present to the schools the evidence that their children's vaccines are up to date according to the age and grade of the student. It is a process similar to the one carried out at the beginning of each school year.
The Minister of Education explained that elementary, middle and high school students must meet the minimum requirements for vaccine doses against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib), Hepatitis B, Common Measles, German Measles, Mumps, Chickenpox and Pneumococcus, according to their age .
“Every adolescent from 11 to 18 years of age must comply with a dose of the Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine. 11-year-olds should have one dose of the Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV4) and a second dose of it at 16 years of age. Likewise, they will need at least the first dose of the vaccine against the human papilloma virus, that adolescent of 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 years of age and complete the series as recommended in the Vaccination Itinerary ”, Secretary Hernández Pérez reported.
On the other hand, regarding exemptions to vaccinate for religious and medical reasons, he pointed out that they have to be delivered to the educational institution. An affidavit requesting religious exemption must indicate the religion and have the signatures of the parent or legal guardian and the minister of religion. A certification requesting medical exemption must be signed by a physician authorized to practice the profession in Puerto Rico and must indicate the specific reason and possible duration of the contraindicated conditions or circumstances of one or more of the required vaccinations.