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By the time youngsters enter kindergarten, they have caught up on their required vaccinations, but a certain percentage fails to get them at the required age, leaving them at risk for infections and dropping the state to 30th in terms of vaccination levels. To remedy that, the Connecticut Department of Public Health is making 14 of the 16 recommended vaccines available at no cost to all pediatric offices in the state starting in January. “Giving vaccines is pretty expensive. The more the state does to expand the availability of vaccines the better,” said Dr. Philip Brewer, medical director for student health services at Quinnipiac University. “This is important for individuals and the kids who sit next to them.”
The new program adds three vaccines — pneumococcal conjugate, influenza, and hepatitis A — to bring the total to 14. Using federal and state funds, the state buys the 14 at the lowest possible price and provides them at no cost to providers. Children are required to have a full complement of vaccines, which in most cases involves several doses, in order to enter kindergarten. These include: polio vaccine; measles, mumps and rubella vaccine; hepatitis B; varicella (chicken pox); diptheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine; influenza vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine.
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