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DHS news release

February 13, 2007

General contact : Bonnie Widerburg, 971-673-1282 Technical Contact : Stacy de Assis Matthews, 971-673-0528


It reminds parents to vaccinate their children before February 21

Representatives of Public Health, Department of Human Services State of Oregon are encouraging parents to make sure their children's immunizations are up to date so that they are not denied entry to their schools.

Beginning February 21, the children can not go to school if their health histories or nursery school show that some of the vaccines are needed and have no appropriate medical or religious exemption.

Immunization requirements are the results of a state law that applies to all public and private schools, preschools, Head Start programs and kindergartens certified.

"The goal is to ensure that children are fully protected against vaccine-preventable diseases," said Lorraine Duncan, Manager of Immunization Division of Public Health, Department of Human Services (DHS, for its acronym in English).

Last year, local health departments sent 30.296 letters to parents informing them of the need to vaccinate their children as a requirement to stay in school. A total of 5,301 children were not allowed in schools or day care until their health records showed that they had received the required immunizations.

Many children receive letters that their health records are not current, even if they have all their shots. The staff of schools and nurseries used statewide registration program called Oregon Immunization ALERT (for its acronym in English) to keep the records up to date, but sometimes the information is available only to parents.

Duncan advises parents to keep up to date records of vaccinations for their children
in schools or childcare after each vaccine.

"Vaccination against childhood diseases is one of the most economical preventative measures we have," said Duncan. "Ensuring that children have all their shots and not miss school is a joint effort. DHS provides technical assistance, but it is the hard work and dedication of health departments, schools and facilities that make this process work. '

Parents who want their children vaccinated should contact their health care providers, with the county health clinic or call Oregon SafeNet at 800-SAFENET or 800-723-3638.

The immunization program is one of many public health programs of DHS that focuses on prevention and helping people take care of their health to be as productive and healthy as possible. 

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