Important DHHS & DOE Immunization Law Change

Important DHHS & DOE Immunization Law Change


Dear Parents/Guardians,


The Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education revised the Maine School Immunization Requirements rule on December 20, 2016. The changes further align Maine’s immunization rules with current national recommendations to better protect the health of all Maine people. The following two changes were made:


  1. Effective immediately, the exclusion period for varicella disease (chicken pox) has increased from 16 days to 21 days. This means that, if there is a case of chickenpox,  any child who has not provided proof of immunization or history of disease will be unable to attend school or any school related activity for 21 days. This time period will be extended if any further chickenpox cases occur after the first. The law requires a 21 day exclusion period after the LAST case.
  2.  Effective for the 2017-2018 school year, all students entering, advancing, or transferring into seventh (7th) grade will need to receive one dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine before attendance is allowed. This requirement is for 7th grade students only; grades 8-12 are not included in this rule change.


You can find a link to the rule (Chapter 126 / 261) here:


Pertussis (whooping cough) is a very contagious respiratory disease that can be severe and last for months. The immunity received from either early childhood immunization or pertussis disease wears off over time, leaving older students and adults susceptible to pertussis. Immunization with Tdap can protect students, schools and communities against whooping cough.


We are providing you with this information now so that you have ample time to schedule an appointment prior to the first day of the 2017-2018 school year.


Below please find the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on this new school immunization requirement.

FAQs Immunization Requirement

If you have any questions, please contact your School Nurse:

Saco Middle School: Joan Holmes RN, or 282-4181 ext. 2400

CK Burns: Sandra Lauzier RN, or 282-5800 option 2

Young and Fairfield Schools: Jessica Morgan RN, or Young: 284-7053, Fairfield: 282-1322.

For further questions, please contact the Maine Immunization Program at (207) 287-3746 or (800) 867-4775 or by email at


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