It might be summer, but it is not too soon to make sure your child is properly immunized for fall classes.
It is critical to know that before a student can attend school, parents must provide proof of full immunization, proof that a schedule of immunization has been started or a certificate of exemption. Immunization must be provided against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, polio, mumps, measles, rubella, hepatitis B and varicella.
Jacqueline Brawley, executive director of communications and community relations for the Bellingham Public Schools, offers the following insight on what you need to know.
For parents familiar with the Health Department Immunization Clinic, there is a new phone number and hours.
In addition to the clinics below, families also may contact their local pharmacy to get immunized.
Immunizations protect the health of your child and the health of others. State law requires that children entering kindergarten must have certain immunizations. For kindergarten entry:
▪ Two doses of varicella (chickenpox) given on or after first birthday and received at least 28 days apart or blood test showing immunity to varicella or health care provider-diagnosis is acceptable. Parent-reported history of disease is no longer acceptable.
▪ Five doses of DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), fifth dose must be given on or after fourth birthday or four doses are acceptable if fourth dose was given on or after the fourth birthday.
▪ Four doses of polio – fouth dose must be given on or after fourth birthday or three doses are acceptable, if third dose was given on or after the fourth birthday.
▪ Two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) given on or after first birthday and received at least 28 days apart or blood test showing immunity to measles, mumps and rubella is acceptable.
▪ Three doses of hepatitis B; dose three must be given on or after 24 weeks of age.
Students entering thesixth- through eighth-grade must show proof of varicella vaccine or healthcare provider verifies disease. Students age 11 are required to show proof of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccination.
If a student has been exempted from a vaccine, he or she will be excluded from school in the event of an outbreak of that particular disease.
Contact your health care provider or one of the following to make sure your child meets the required immunizations:
▪ Health Department Immunization Clinic, 1500 N. State Street, 360-778-6100; for children 18 and under; must have no health insurance and no health care provider. Clinic is every Wednesday from 1-4 p.m. by appointment only.
▪ Sea Mar Community Health Center, 4455 Cordata Parkway, 360-671-3225; open Mondays 8-11 a.m. and 2-9 p.m., Tuesdays-Saturdays: 9 a.m. to noon and 2-5 p.m. Offers nurse visit by appointment for established patients and accepts new patients by appointments.
▪ Interfaith Community Health Center, 220 Unity St., 360-676-6177; open Mondays-Fridays: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays: 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Offers immunizations by appointment for established patients.
If you seek an exemption, a certificate of exemption form signed by the healthcare provider stating that the parent/guardian received information about the benefits and risks of immunization is now required for any type of exemption (medical, religious, or philosophical) request.
The law also allows parents and guardians to claim religious exemption without a healthcare provider signature if they demonstrate membership in a religious body that does not believe in medical treatment by a healthcare provider.