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With the Feb. 21 deadline fast approaching for updating kids’ vaccinations, the Oregon Immunization Program (OIP) reminds parents and caregivers that their children may miss out on school or childcare if their records on file show missing immunizations.
The third Wednesday in February is known as School Exclusion Day. By this day, under state law, all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified childcare facilities must submit documentation showing they are up to date on their required immunizations or have an exemption. This year, if a child’s vaccination records do not show up-to-date immunizations by Feb. 21, their school or childcare center will send them home.
“Vaccine-preventable diseases can be highly contagious, with several cases of measles recently taking place in the Pacific Northwest and across the U.S.,” said Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator in Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Public Health Division. “Immunizations remain the best way to stop that spread, keeping kids and school communities healthy and safe.”
Leading up to School Exclusion Day in 2023, local health departments in Oregon sent 26,688 letters to parents and caregivers informing them that they needed to submit records showing up-to-date immunizations for their children. That led to a total of 4,048 children being sent home and not being able to attend school until their families provided the necessary vaccination records.
This year, local public health authorities mailed letters to families on or before Feb. 7.
Parents and caregivers seeking immunizations for their children should contact their health care provider or local health department. They may also reach 211Info by dialing 211 over the phone, or going to 211info.org. No one can be turned away from a local health department because of their inability to pay for required vaccines. Many pharmacists can immunize children ages 7 and older – OIP encourages families to contact their neighborhood pharmacy for more details. Additional information on school immunizations can be found at the Immunization Program website. OHA’s website also features local school vaccination data and an OIP Tableau School Immunization Dashboard.
People in Oregon shared their personal stories with OHA on why adults decide to vaccinate their children:
- Hear how Sarah’s powerful conversations changed her mom’s long-held views on vaccinations: https://youtu.be/dPB2sfySwJQ
- Reverend Dr. Currie discusses whether there are legitimate reasons for religious exemptions: https://youtu.be/D6XnPm1N4iQ
- As a parent herself, Dr. Choo talks about why she vaccinates her children: https://youtu.be/aDy7sseKs24
OHA invites people to join the conversation and share why they vaccinate by using ‘#ORVaccinates’ on social media.
Source: Oregon Health Authority