August Blog: Back to School Immunizations

It’s back to school time! Along with back to school shopping lists, now is the time to make sure your child is up to date on their immunizations to make sure they are protected as they head to class.

Vaccinations protect your children from certain deadly diseases, prevent outbreaks, and promote healthy classrooms.

Children are due for a series of immunizations between the ages of 4 and 6, and again between the ages of 11 and 12, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some vaccines due at these ages are also required by the Washington State Department of Health prior to the first day of kindergarten and sixth grade.

Vaccinations are important for both the health of your kids and the health of our community. Unvaccinated kids are more likely to catch and spread serious illnesses such as whooping cough (also called pertussis) and measles, which can both be prevented by vaccines.

Vaccine requirements sometimes change, so it’s important to keep up to date: visit doh.wa.gov and tpchd.org for more information.

What vaccinations does my child need for school?

By the time your child enters kindergarten, required vaccinations will include:

  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Polio
  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)
  • Chickenpox
  • A yearly flu shot*

In May 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that removes the personal and philosophical option to exempt children from the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine required for school and child care entry.

Read more about the change here: https://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Schools/Immunization/ExemptionLawChange

The average 11- to 12-year-old should receive these immunizations before school:

  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV, done in three doses)
  • Meningitis (MCV4)
  • A yearly flu shot*
  • Any missing shots from the list above or not received as babies, such as Hepatitis A vaccine

Access your child’s immunization stats, and whether this impacts their school or child care attendance, through the Washington MyIR website here: https://wa.myir.net/register/

*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

Where do I get my child vaccinated?

  • Call your local pediatrician or family doctor to set up an appointment for well child visit and immunizations. Because vaccine exemptions have changed this year in Washington State, providers are experiencing a lot of last-minute calls related to questions and to make appointments. Parents should get their children in as early as they can prior to the beginning of the school year.
  • Thurston County:
    • Thursday, August 16 — 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Little Red Schoolhouse @ Komachin Middle School 3650 College St SE, Lacey
    • Wednesday, August 22 — 4 – 8 p.m. Peter G. Schmidt Elementary 237 Dennis St SE, Tumwater
    • Saturday, September 22 — 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Kaiser Permanente Olympia Medical Cent r* 700 Lilly Road NE, Olympia
    • Bring the student’s previous immunization records (if available). Students must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. No pre-registration is necessary. No exemptions/waivers will be issued. Immunizations are available on a first-come, first served basis.
    • Questions: Contact Jennifer Dixon at dixonjm@co.thurston.wa.us or 360-867-2609 www.co.thurston. a.us/health
  • Mason County:
    • Saturday, August 24th from 9 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. at the MGH Oakland Bay Pediatrics
    • Saturday, September 14th from 9 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. at the MGH Oakland Bay Pediatrics
    • Parents are required to bring their child’s previous immunization records. Students must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. No immunization exemptions or waivers will be issued at the clinics. Residents are asked to visit their primary care providers if they wish to obtain an exemption or waiver.

Please contact Caroline Sedano if you have questions or concerns: sedanoc@crhn.org. Or join the Department of Health’s Twitter chat on Thursday, August 15. Click here for more information.