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OREGON — The State of Oregon and the Oregon Immunization Program are reminding parents that children will not be able to attend school or child care starting Feb. 19 if their records on file show missing immunizations.

Under state law, children in public and private schools and certified child care facilities must have up-to-date documentation of their immunization history or have an exemption on file. If a child's vaccination records are not up-to-date on Feb. 19, they will be sent home. Last year, a total of 4,043 children were kept out of school or child care until necessary immunization records were submitted to schools or child care facilities.

"Immunization is the best way to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases, such as whooping cough and measles," said Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator in the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. "It helps keep schools and the entire community safe and healthy."

In 2019, local health departments sent letters to parents and guardians notifying them that children needed immunizations to stay in school or child care. A reminder letter was sent to parents on or before Feb. 5 of this year.

Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their health care provider or local health department. They can also call 211-INFO or go to 211info.org for information. Nobody can be turned away from a local health department due to inability to pay for required vaccines. Many pharmacies are also able to provide immunizations for children 7-years-old and older.

Additional information on school immunizations can be found at the Immunization Program website at www.oregon.gov/OHA/PH/PreventionWellness/VaccinesImmunization/pages/index.aspx.

Reporter Adam Robertson can be reached at 541-297-3590, or by email at adam.robertson@theworldlink.com.