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Add immunizations to back-to-school checklist
The Snohomish Health District is advising parents to check their children’s immunization records as they check off the back-to-school list.
Washington state requires all students who enroll in public or private schools and licensed child care centers to provide proof of immunization against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis, measles, rubella, mumps, tetanus, hepatitis B, varicella (chickenpox) for children under 13 years of age and haemophilus influenzae type B disease.
With important vaccines usually administered at two, four and six months of age, as well as 12-15 months, by the time children enter kindergarten, they should mainly require booster shots to bring their immunization records up to state and school district standards.
For those who miss the early childhood shots, health care providers or the Snohomish Health District can help ensure children get the vaccines they need to return to school, said Rita Mell, manager of the health district’s preventable disease clinic.
Sixth grade is another important benchmark in the immunization process. However, even if children are entering another grade, Mell advised parents to check students’ records to make sure they are current.
In addition to requiring ing students are immunized against the 10 diseases mandated by the state, the Lakewood School District provides information every year to parents of sixth- through 12th-graders about immunizations available for meningococcal disease, also known as meningitis, and human paillomavirus or HPV.
The Marysville and Lakewood school districts require that written evidence of a student’s immunization or an acceptable schedule of immunization must be on file by the first day of school. For people with personal, religious or medical objections to immunizations, a certificate of exemption must be filed by the first day of school. Students who do not meet these standards may be excluded from school until they are brought into compliance.
The Marysville District policy states that temporary personal exemptions will not be accepted.
It is school district policy to keep student immunization status on file so that in the case of an outbreak, afflicted and unimmunized students will be quarantined until they are cleared.
“These policies adhere closely to what the state proscribes,” said Dr. Kyle Kinoshita, Marysville School District’s executive director of teaching and learning. “In addition, our school nurses have access to a secure database that many districts use that have record of student immunizations.”
Mell recommended parents schedule appointments for immunizations as soon as possible “to avoid the back-to-school rush right before school,” she said. “They should be calling their health care provider first.”
The Snohomish Health District’s two clinics are available for families without a provider
screens patients for underlying medical conditions before immunizing, Mell said.
“Every time that they go to the doctor, their immunization record can be reviewed, if they are behind on anything,” Mell advised. “It’s very important to keep the immunizations up throughout the lifetime to prevent disease.”
For more information about the state’s student immunization standards, visit the Web site at www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/Immunize or to schedule an appointment, call the Main Clinic in Everett at 425-339-5220 or the South County Clinic in Lynnwood at 425-775-3522.