MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With school starting in less than two weeks, parents are urged to make sure their children’s vaccines are updated.

For the first time in Minnesota, vaccines are required against Hepatitis A and B for kids entering early-education programs. Junior high school students need to be immunized against meningitis, along with having an updated tetanus booster.

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The state’s health department’s Lynn Bahta says most children have already gotten these vaccines, which have been recommended for a least a decade.

“We really felt like we needed to update our law to reflect those recommendations,” she said.

This adds up to a healthy learning environment.

“By keeping the kids healthy, the kids can stay in school and learn,” Bahta said. “It minimizes that disruption of learning.

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And if those shots aren’t updated, Bahta says “the child would be excluded from the child-care program or from school.”

Bahta noted parents are given a chance to update the immunization records.

And, yes, most of these treatments are painful. (What kid, or adult for that matter, looks forward to getting shots?) However, some of the immunizations are with nasal sprays, which are gradually taking the place of hypodermic needles.

“We’re working toward the no-shot process for immunizations, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Bahta said.

If parents can’t get an appointment with their doctors to have their kids’ shots updated, they can go to any public health clinic in the Twin Cities for the proper immunizations.

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For more information on what shots are needed, and who needs them, visit the state Department of Health’s immunization program’s website.