Lifestyle

Immunize now for the 2010-11 school year

For a healthy and safe school year, every parent’s back-to-school checklist should include making sure children are up-to-date in their immunizations This year in our state under-immunized children have contributed to outbreaks of chickenpox and pertussis ("whooping cough").

“Immunizations are a very safe and effective way to keep children healthy and in school,” said Dr. David Fleming Director and Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County. “Whether you’re a parent enrolling your child in school or a student entering college, you should be checking to see if immunization records are up to date.”

School requirements for this fall

This fall, all students entering kindergarten through twelfth grade will be required to show proof of three doses of hepatitis B vaccine, an age-appropriate series of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis-containing vaccines (DTaP, pediatric DT, adult Td, or Tdap) and polio vaccine, and two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.

Check with your clinic or health care provider to get the vaccines your child may need for school this fall. Please remember to bring your shot records to all clinics. For a complete immunization schedule, visit: www.kingcounty.gov/health/immunization.

“Whether you’re a parent or guardian enrolling your child in school, a student entering college, a health care worker, or an adult who likes to travel, you should be regularly checking to see if your immunization records are up to date,” said Betsy Hubbard, Public Health’s Immunization Supervisor.

Risks in not vaccinating

Parents or legal guardians have the right to choose not to immunize their children, based on medical, religious or philosophical reasons. There is risk, however, in choosing against vaccination. In addition to the potential risk of becoming infected with a vaccine-preventable disease if exposed to the illness, a child who is not fully immunized may be excluded from attending school or childcare during an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.

Parents or legal guardians must complete and sign the separate Certificate of Exemption Status form to exempt their child from receiving vaccines required for school entry.

Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.9 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health – Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day. More at www.kingcounty.gov/health.

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