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Schools requiring updated vaccine records

Those students whose immunizations are not current will be excluded from school after Feb. 19


There aren’t many reasons that a school would turn away its students, but an out-of-date immunization record is one of them.

Feb. 19 is known as Exclusion Day, when schools are mandated to send students home, not to return until they’ve received their required shots.

In 2013, over 30,000 letters went out to Oregon parents, and 4,000 students were kept out of school due to incomplete immunizations.

According to Mindy Stomner, immunization coordinator at the Crook County Health Department, 193 letters were sent out this year compared to 174 last year and 250 in 2012. Thirteen students were excluded in 2012, while 18 were sent home in 2013."Most of the letters go out simply because parents have not updated their immunizations," said Stomner, adding that those that get their shots now should be sure to notify the school.

Up-to-date immunizations are required by all schools, whether public, private, charter or alternative. Additionally, all preschools, Head Start programs and other childcare facilities are mandated to ensure compliance as well.

"Immunization is an effective way to keep schools and the entire community healthy," said Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator for the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. "We want to make sure children are fully protected against vaccine-preventable diseases, such as whooping cough."

Vaccine-related immunizations include polio, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B. Haemophilus influenza type B, not to be confused with the flu vaccine, is required for children under the age of 5. Additionally, the tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis vaccine, known as Tdap, requires a single dose for those in grades seven through twelve, while students in preschool, childcare, kindergarten and first through fifth grade need two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine.

As proof of immunization, all children must have an Oregon Certificate of Immunization Status form on file with their school, signed by a parent, guardian, medical provider or county health department staff member. Those over the age of 15 may sign their own immunization record.

Copies of the certificate are available from schools, childcare providers, CCHD, and the state. Shots can be received at most pediatric and family clinics, or at any regular health care provider. No one can be denied shots based on an inability to pay.

Hating needles is not a reason to avoid getting immunized, but there are three allowed exemptions, each of which must be indicated on the certificate.

Parents may claim a religious exemption from any or all immunizations by indicating such on the certificate and agreeing that their child may be kept out of school during any disease outbreak.

Medical exemptions are allowed when accompanied by a letter, from a licensed physician, indicating the conditions for which a particular vaccine is to be avoided.

Finally, immunity exemptions, also signed by a physician, must include a diagnosis, or lab report, that provides proof of immunity of any particular disease for which a vaccine is required.

For those needed immunization, Stomner strongly recommends getting them from the student's primary care physician, saying, "We also want to encourage the students continuity of care."

For others, Stomner listed a number of options for obtaining needed vaccines.

The county health department, located at 375 NW Beaver St., Ste. 100, holds immunization clinics every Monday, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with no appointment needed. Anyone attending the clinic is asked to bring their immunization records and insurance information with them.

Stomner added that, for those over the age of 11, vaccinations can be obtained at any pharmacy while any student can visit the Crook Kid Clinic.

In a partnership between the CCHD, the Crook County School District, and Mosaic Medical, the Crook Kid Clinic immunizes children any aged child up to 18. The clinic is housed at Crooked River Elementary School, located at 757 N.E. 1st, and is open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Information about immunizations can be found at healthoregon.org/imm

Facebook: facebook.com/OregonImmunize

Twitter: twitter.com/OregonImmunize

Parents may also call the Crook County Health Department at (541) 447-5165

A list of required immunizations is available at:

public.health.oregon.gov/PreventionWellness/VaccinesImmunization/GettingImmunized/Documents/SchBusEng13.pdf

An Oregon Certificate of Immunization Status is available at:

public.health.oregon.gov/PreventionWellness/VaccinesImmunization/GettingImmunized/Documents/SchCISform.pdf



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