August is the ideal time for Pennsylvania residents of all ages to make sure they are up-to-date with immunizations, and especially for parents of school students, the Department of Health said recently.

"It's almost back-to-school time, and parents need to be aware that there are new school regulations now in effect for vaccinations," said Health Secretary Dr. Eli Avila.

Effective now, the updated school immunization regulations require that children in all grade levels receive an additional dose of varicella vaccine, a second dose of mumps vaccine and a complete three-dose series of Hepatitis B vaccine.

The regulations also require that students in seventh grade have one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) and one dose of tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap). Students in all grades are required to have received a second dose of chickenpox vaccine if they have never had the disease.

The department updated the state's immunization regulations based upon the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

August also marks the annual National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), which reminds people of all ages to keep up-to-date on immunizations. NIAM's goal is to increase awareness about immunizations, from infants to the elderly.

"Vaccines not only protect those who have been vaccinated, but also provide protection to unvaccinated individuals as well," said Dr. Avila. "Vaccines will help keep all Pennsylvanians as healthy as possible by keeping infectious diseases under control."

For more information on the new vaccine regulations, or to get your child vaccinated, visit www.VaccinesForLife.com.

For a complete listing of immunization requirements by state, visit www.immunize.org/laws.