The new year is here and the Oregon Immunization Program wants to remind parents that now is the time to make sure their children have received all required immunizations and that their vaccination records are complete and up-to-date. State law requires that all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities have had all required vaccinations, otherwise they will not be allowed to attend school. There are exemptions for parents who have a religious objection or their child has a medical condition that is not compatible with vaccinations.
Parents or guardians will receive a letter in late January or early February if their child’s immunization record shows that he or she has not received the required vaccinations. Children will not be able to attend school or child care starting February 15, 2012, if their records on file show missing immunizations.
“We want to make sure children go to school in a safe, healthy environment free from vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Stacy de Assis Matthews, immunization school law coordinator in the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division.
This year, parents should take note of some important information:
Tdap vaccine requirement:
Tdap vaccine is required for seventh- through 10th-graders. Tdap is a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) booster. Whooping cough is a serious health concern in Oregon with about 300 cases recorded in 2011.
Hepatitis A vaccine requirement:
The hepatitis A vaccine, which protects against a communicable viral infection, is a two-dose series now required for children 18 months through third grade.
Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their health care provider or local county health department. They can also call Oregon SafeNet at 1-800-SAFENET or 1-800-723-3638.
No one can be turned away from a local health department because of the inability to pay for required vaccines. Additional information on school immunizations can be found on the Oregon Public Health website by clicking here.