Public Health – Seattle & King County urges back-to-school immunizations

August 21, 2012

By Staff

King County reminds parents to include updating immunizations on their children’s back-to-school list.

“Immunizations are a very safe and effective way to keep children healthy and in school,” said David Fleming, director and health officer for public health for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Whether you’re a parent enrolling your child in school or a student entering college, make sure all immunizations are up-to-date.”

In a statement released Aug. 20, public health officials said the state’s current whooping cough epidemic is a stark reminder of the importance of immunization. There have been 560 confirmed cases of whooping cough in King County so far this year, compared to 98 cases in all of 2011. School-aged children have been hit particularly hard. Children ages 10-13 have the highest rates of whooping cough in King County.

“Vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from diseases like whooping cough,” Betsy Hubbard, Public Health’s immunization supervisor, said.

To find out which vaccines are required for school and child care attendance, parents can go online to www.doh.wa.gov and click on “Community and Environment.” From there go to “Schools” and follow the link for “Vaccine Requirements.”

Choosing not to vaccinate, according to officials, could lead to the contraction of a preventable disease as well as passing illness on to those particularly vulnerable, like infants, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems. A child who is not fully immunized may be sent home from school during a disease outbreak.

Parents who choose not to immunize their children must submit an exemption certificate, signed by a health care provider verifying the provider has shared information about immunization benefits and risks.

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