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Snohomish Health District offers back-to-school vaccinations

Vaccination remains the most effective strategy for keeping communities healthy and free of communicable diseases. The back-to-school season is a great time for families — parents, kids and other relatives — to see their health care providers for vaccinations. All vaccines required to enroll in school are available to children at no cost.

The Snohomish Health District will serve you if your family does not have a provider. A visit to a Health District clinic includes a check of your child's shot record in Child Profile, the state's immunization registry.

Although exemptions are allowed for medical, religious or personal reasons, the best disease protection is to make sure children have all their recommended immunizations. Children who are not fully immunized may be sent home from school, preschool or childcare during outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease, such as the current statewide epidemic of whooping cough. Adults also need to refresh their immunizations against whooping cough with the booster shot called Tdap, which vaccinates against tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis.

The required childhood vaccines available for the 2012-13 school year include:

• Two doses of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine, or a doctor-verified history of the disease, is required for K-4 students. Students in grades 5-6 are required to have one dose of varicella or a parental history of the disease.

• The whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine booster, Tdap, is required for students in grades 6-11.

The recommended vaccines that are available include:

• Varicella vaccine for children in grades 7-12 who have never had chickenpox, although it's not required.

• One shot of meningococcal vaccine, recommended for children 11 years or older.

• A three-shot series of human papillomavirus, recommended for both boys and girls 11 years or older.

• Young people aged 17-19 years and all adults should have one dose of Tdap each.

• Children 12 months or older should receive hepatitis A vaccine, a two-shot series.

• Flu vaccine, now recommended for all people aged 6 months and older.

Effective July 22 of this year, the process for parents or guardians to exempt their children from school or childcare immunization requirements was changed. Clients who want a signature on the Certificate of Exemption will be referred to their providers. Under the law, parents must get information from their health care providers about immunizations. The health care providers must then sign Certificate of Exemption forms for most types of exemptions.

More information about the form and the law is available online at www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/Immunize.

Parents can make an appointment during normal clinic hours at the Everett Health District office. Hours are by appointment from 8 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The clinic will be closed on Labor Day, Sept. 3, and on weekends.

A parent or legal guardian must accompany a child to the clinic, and must bring a complete record of the child’s immunizations. If you are unable to accompany your child, you need to fill out a Snohomish Health District authorization form to have another person bring your child to the clinic. The forms are available at the clinic, which will mail or fax forms on request. On the day of your appointment, clinic staff can verify and update your child's status on the state's online immunization registry.

The Health District clinic requests payment on the day of service in cash, check, debit or credit card. Medical coupons are accepted, but private insurance is not. The cost for most immunization services includes an office visit fee, plus an administration fee per vaccine. Reduced fees are available by filling out a request based on household size and income.

The Snohomish Health District's Everett office is located in Suite 306 at 3020 Rucker Ave. and can by reached by phone at 425-339-5200.

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