School Exclusion Day looms on Feb. 19 and the Oregon Health Authority is urging parents to get their kids the necessary vaccines required by law and provide their school with records.
Children will not be able to attend school or child care services starting Feb. 19 if their records don't show all the necessary immunizations or an official exemption. This includes children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start programs and certified child care facilities.
"Immunization is the best way to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough and measles," Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator in the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division, said in a press release. "It helps keep schools and the entire community safe and healthy."
Without proper records, parents can expect their kids to be sent home. According to the OHA release, local health departments sent out 22,547 letters in 2019 informing parents and guardians that their children needed additional immunizations. A total of 4,043 kids were kept out of school or child care as a result of their families' delay in providing necessary documentation.
Parents seeking to complete the necessary vaccinations or exemptions can contact their local health provider or health department, or dial 2-1-1 for more information on the matter.
"No one can be turned away from a local health department because of the inability to pay for required vaccines," the release stated. "Many pharmacists can immunize children age 7 and older; contact your neighborhood pharmacy for details."
More information is available for parents and guardians at www.healthoregon.org/imm.
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