Photo: Getty Images
The third Wednesday of February (Feb. 15) is School Exclusion Day, and the Oregon Immunization Program reminds parents that children may not be able to attend school or child care that day if their records show missing immunizations.
Under state law, all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities must have up-to-date documentation on their immunizations or have an exemption.
“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 at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Public Health Division.
“Just a few years ago, we saw several measles cases in the Northwest, and Central Ohio just experienced a severe measles outbreak with more than 30 unvaccinated children hospitalized,” Matthews said. “There also were recent polio cases in New York state. We don’t want another disease outbreak in Oregon of on top of COVID-19. Immunizations are the most effective way to stop the spread of measles and other diseases, to keep kids and school communities healthy and safe.”
If a child’s school and child care vaccination records are not up to date by Feb. 15, the child will be sent home if they don’t have an exemption. In 2022, local health departments sent 26,149 letters to parents and guardians informing them that their children needed immunizations to stay in school or child care.
A total of 5,118 children were kept out of school or child care until the necessary immunization information was turned in to the schools or child care facilities. This year, reminder letters to parent will be mailed by Feb. 1.
COVID-19 vaccinations are not required for students in Oregon schools or child care. OHA strongly recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 immunizations. Parents can check with their health care provider or pharmacist about current COVID-19 recommendations.
Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their child’s pediatrician or local health department, or contact 211Info by dialing 211 or visiting to 211info.org. No one can be turned away from a local health department because of the inability to pay for required vaccines. Many pharmacists can immunize children 7 and older; parents can contact their neighborhood pharmacy for details.
Additional information on school immunizations can be found at the Immunization Program website.
Source: Oregon Health Authority