The Wyoming Department of Health has added two vaccines to the list of those required for children to attend school or daycare in the state. One of the two is a vaccine for rotavirus, which affects the stomach and intestines. According to State Epidemiologist Alexia Harrist, the rotavirus vaccine can only be given to babies younger than eight months old.
“Anyone who didn’t get it before they were eight months old won’t have to get it,” Harrist said. “The main issue is that younger children tend to get more severe effects from the infection, as well as by the time you get past eight months and older, you usually have been exposed and have some immunity.”
The second newly required vaccine targets a bacteria that state epidemiologist Alexia Harrist said causes severe infections.
“So, meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis, which is having bacteria in the blood,” Harrist said. “And this vaccine helps protect children against that. It also helps protect against more common diseases that this pneumococcal bacteria cause, such as ear infections.”
As part of the updated requirements, the state mandates immunizations for children who are homeschooled, as well, if they participate in sports or activities. Wyoming allows people to get medical and religious exemptions for these rules. There are also state and federal programs to help pay for vaccines that are required for school and daycare attendance.