February 20 is School Exclusion Day, and the Oregon Immunization Program is reminding parents that children will not be able to attend school or child care starting that day if their records on file 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 in the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. “It helps keep schools and the entire community safe and healthy.”
If school and child care vaccination records are not up-to-date on Feb. 20, the child will be sent home. In 2016, local health departments sent 41,045 letters to parents and guardians informing them that their children needed immunizations to stay in school or child care. A total of 6,995 children were kept out of school or child care until the necessary immunization information was turned in to the schools or child care facilities. Letters to parents were mailed on or before Feb. 1.
Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their health care provider or local health department, or call 211Info—just dial 211 or go 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 age 7 and older. Parents should contact their neighborhood pharmacy for details.
Additional information on school immunizations can be found at the Immunization Program website. Follow the Oregon Immunization Program on Facebook. View a YouTube video featuring Matthews discussing Exclusion Day.