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DHS news release

Feb. 7, 2005


Contact: Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180


Technical contact: Amanda Timmons (503) 731-4564


Parents reminded to get children immunized; school exclusion day looms

Parents whose children lack up-to-date immunizations have until Feb. 16 to get them vaccinated or have them excluded from school, public health officials in the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) said Monday.


On Feb. 16, children whose school or day care records show they are missing shots and who do not have an appropriate medical or religious exemption will be sent home. They cannot return to school until their immunization records are updated.


Last year 50,028 exclusion orders were issued in Oregon and 9,208 children were kept out of school until they could provide documentation that they had received required immunizations.


"Immunizations protect children against diseases that can cause serious illness or permanent injury," said Lorraine Duncan, DHS immunization manager. "It's especially important for school-age kids to be fully vaccinated because disease is easily spread in school settings."


Duncan said that health departments have already sent approximately 44,000 letters to parents throughout the state informing them that their children are lacking shots. The school exclusion law applies to all public and private schools, pre-schools, Head Start and certified day care facilities.


"Many children receive exclusion orders each year because their immunization record at school or daycare hasn't been updated," Duncan said. "Oregon Immunization ALERT, the statewide registry, helps staff at schools and other children's facilities keep records up-to-date, but some information is available only from the parent."


Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their private provider, county health clinic or call Oregon SafeNet at (1-800) SAFENET or 1 (800) 723-3638.