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Health - Public Health News

Posted on: September 8, 2020

Back to school readiness includes being up-to-date on shots

Preventing diseases with vaccines

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some children may have missed appointments to get immunizations. With the school year back in session, it’s a good time to get caught up and protect your child from preventable diseases. Doctors agree that getting children all the shots they need during childhood is one of the most important things parents can do to help keep their children safe and healthy, especially during the pandemic.

Vaccinating on time is important

Following the vaccine schedule is an effective way to protect your children. It’s based on how a child’s immune system responds to vaccines at various ages so that your little one is protected at exactly the right time. Some vaccines require more than one shot and are designed to build immunity over time so it’s important to stick to the recommended schedule.

To know which shots your child needs and when, see the recommended immunization schedules from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaccination rules for schools and child cares

Many families have routines for getting ready to go back to school, including making sure that kids are up-to-date on their vaccines. And even though many students will start the school year attending remotely, they still need to have the shots required by Washington State. Find out what’s required for child cares and schools:

In our community, nearly 80% of kindergarteners were up-to-date on their childhood vaccines in 2019. The more people that are vaccinated, the less likely a disease can move from person to person. Now more than ever, let’s protect our children against preventable diseases.

Getting the Shots Your Child Needs

  • Find out if your child is up-to-date on their immunizations.
    • Check your family’s vaccination records online with Washington MyIR
    • Contact your child’s health care provider for current vaccine records.
  • Safely attend well-child visits.
    • Well-child visits are a time to check in with your child’s doctor about your child’s health and development, as well as get needed shots. Many medical offices are taking extra steps to make sure that well-child visits can happen safely during the COVID-19 outbreak, including:
      • Scheduling sick visits and well-child visits during different times of the day.
      • Asking patients to remain outside until it’s time for their appointment to reduce the number of people in waiting rooms.
      • Offering sick visits and well-child visits in different clinic locations.
  • Childhood vaccines are free in Washington State for everyone under age 19.
    • Most insurance plans cover all the costs of getting vaccines. Visit your usual healthcare provider to get your shots, or use www.vaccinefinder.org to find a location near you that offers vaccines. 
    • Many healthcare providers in Whatcom County can provide free childhood vaccines. Some providers might charge an office visit fee.
    • If you don’t have insurance or your insurance doesn’t fully cover vaccines, you can still get them for free through the Vaccines for Children program.

Do your part to protect your child and the community from vaccine-preventable diseases by staying current on childhood shots. 

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