Back to school immunizations

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Seattle-King County Public Health advises parents to bring their children's immunizations up to date for the start of school.

The rules have changed for opting out of immunizations. A new law, effective July 22, 2011, changes the process for parents or guardians to exempt their child from school or child care immunization requirements. Under the new law, parents must get vaccine education from their health care provider and signed verification from their provider if they choose an exemption.

A child who is not fully immunized may be excluded from attending school or childcare during an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.

Public Health officials are concerned about recent cases of pertussis in Washington state, the unusually high number of imported measles cases in the United States this year, and an ongoing mumps outbreak in neighboring British Columbia.

This school year, the following vaccines are required:

  • All students will need proof of 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine and 2 doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), an age-appropriate series of polio vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine.
  • Two doses of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine or doctor-verified history of disease are required for age kindergarten through grade 3. Students in grades 4, 5 and 6 are required to have one dose of varicella or parental history of disease. Varicella vaccine is recommended for children in grades 7-12 who have never had chickenpox.
  • Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine) is required for students in grades 6 through 10.

See the complete list of the immunization schedules for schools, including child cares and pre-schools. If you do not have a health care provider, contact the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or ParentHelp123 for assistance.

Although not required for school entry, immunizations are also recommended for children to protect against hepatitis A, meningococcal disease and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Ask your health care provider about these vaccines.


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