POLK COUNTY — Children whose records on file show missing immunizations will not be able to attend school or child care starting Feb. 18, the state’s school exclusion day.
State law requires that all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities have up-to-date documentation on their immunizations or have an exemption, according to the Oregon Immunization Program.
“Immunization is an effective way to keep schools and the entire community healthy,” said Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator in the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. “We want to make sure children are fully protected against vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough and measles.”
Parents should also know about an updated vaccine requirement: The hepatitis A vaccine, which protects against a communicable viral infection, is a two-dose series required for children 18 months and older in child care, preschool and kindergarten through sixth grade.
If school and child care vaccination records are not up to date, the child will be sent home. In 2014, local health departments sent 32,345 letters to parents and guardians statewide informing them that their children needed immunizations to stay in school or child care. A total of 5,227 children were kept out of school or child care until the necessary immunization information was turned in to the schools or child care facilities. Letters to parents this year were scheduled to be mailed by Feb. 4.
Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their health care provider or local health department, or call 211Info — just dial 211. No one can be turned away from a local health department because of the inability to pay for required vaccines. Pharmacists can immunize children 11 and older.
For more information: www.healthoregon.org/imm.