St. Louis, MO – Missouri children starting kindergarten in the fall will have to get chicken pox vaccines, or prove that they've already had the disease in order to attend school.
The Missouri Department of Health made the formal announcement Wednesday, but KWMU first learned about plans for the requirement a year ago.
Health department spokesman Brian Quinn says sometimes chicken pox can be more dangerous than people think.
"It's kind of like the flu," Quinn said. "Most everybody gets it at one time or another, and we tend to downplay it, but it really can have some very serious side effects, and we would just encourage parents to get their children vaccinated."
Children can get the vaccine from their local health department or private clinic.
This is the first vaccine that became required without needing the approval of the Missouri Legislature.
Opponents of the health department's decision have said un-elected health officials should not have that much power.