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Parents Prepare for School Year with New Vaccine Requirement

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 05 Aug 2013 10:08am | comments

For many Mississippi students this week signals the end of the summer and the start of the 2013-2014 school year.  Many parents are seeing higher prices on school supplies as students face the second year of a new vaccine requirement.

 Shonda Willis is the mother of two girls, 9 and 16, and a 5th grade teacher.  She has noticed a sharp rise in the price of sending her kids back to school.

 "A dramatic difference between last year and this year. A pack of filler paper was about 50 cents last year. It is up to 82 cents. Crayons have gone up to a dollar or two dollars. Pencils, everything has gone up," Willis said.

 With many Mississippi schools starting class this week thousands of parents are finding that the cost of school supplies is increasing nearly 4 times faster than inflation.

 Willis says she will have to find other places to cut spending because the school supplies are essential.

 Scott Sredon with the credit counseling firm Credability says that makes planning and budgeting more important than ever.

 "Parents know that these kind of expenses come around at this time of the year. And hopefully they have budgeted and saved a little money to do that. But the last thing you want to do is put that money on the credit card and then have that weighing you down for hte next few months and before you know it you have Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up and you have some other big expenses," Sredon said.

 This is also the second year that students entering the seventh grade are requried to get a vaccine to boost resistance to pertussis, or whooping cough.

 The requirement comes after a dramatic rise in whooping cough (pertussis) in Mississippi.

 State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says children need the booster because their resistance to the illness wears off over time.

 "But they serve as a source of further infection for those children who are under a year of age. Those are the kids who, if they get pertussis, tend to have a pretty severe infection," Byers said.

 Mississippi does rank near the top for vaccination rates, with more than 80% of children getting immunized.

 

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