Get children back-to-school ready by ensuring vaccines are up to date

Getting children needed immunizations during the summer ensures they won’t miss school days

VANCOUVER — The new school year is quickly approaching. Ensuring children are up to date on immunizations should be on every parent’s back-to-school checklist.

Immunizations not only protect children from many serious diseases, but they are required for school. Getting children needed immunizations during the summer ensures they won’t miss school days. Children who do not meet all school vaccination requirements can be excluded from school until they do.

Information about immunization requirements for children entering schools, preschools and licensed child care settings is available on the Washington State Department of Health website. Recommended immunization schedules for children birth to 6 years old and 7 to 18 years old also are available on the state website.

“Vaccinating children according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health,” said Brianna Dannen, public health nurse. “Diseases can quickly spread groups of children who aren’t vaccinated.”

Parents who need copies of their child’s immunization records, or who want to check their own immunization status, can sign up for MyIR to securely access immunization records online. Immunizations records also can be obtained from health care providers and the state Department of Health.

All vaccines required for school are free for students up to age 19. Some providers may charge an administration fee. Parents who can’t afford the fee may ask to have it waived.

Families without a regular health care provider can receive free or low-cost back-to-school immunizations at the clinics listed below. Be sure to bring your child’s immunization records.

Patient Direct Care

Call in advance to ensure availability

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

209 E. Main St., Suite 121, Battle Ground

(360) 999-5138

Free Clinic of Southwest Washington

Walk-in, uninsured children only

5:30-7:30 p.m., first and third Wednesdays of the month

4100 Plomondon St.

(360) 313-1390

Go Ready! Back-to-school Readiness Festival

10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wed., Aug. 22

Hudson’s Bay High School, 1601 E McLoughlin Blvd.

(360) 342-8060

Sea Mar Vancouver Salmon Creek Medical Clinic


8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays in August and September

14508 NE 20th Ave., Suite 102

(360) 852-9070

Camas4Kids Fair

Adolescents only

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat., Sept. 22

Doc Harris Stadium, 1125 NE 22nd Ave., Camas

(360) 838-2440

Most students in Washington get the vaccinations needed to attend school. However, 4.9 percent of K-12 students statewide received exemptions for medical, religious or personal reasons during the 2017-18 school year.

In Clark County, the exemption rate is higher. The county’s K-12 vaccine exemption rate during the 2017-18 school year was 7.5 percent, ranging from 0 percent to 32.7 percent in individual schools. Of those exemptions, 5.9 percent were for personal reasons.

“This is concerning because many diseases require high vaccination rates to ensure there’s enough widespread immunity in the population to protect those who are too young or are otherwise unable to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, health officer and Public Health director.

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