We provide vitally necessary immunizations for children and adults against vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunizations are provided at all three of the Tillamook County Health Centers, and at various outreach clinics in the county. Tillamook County Health Centers offer immunizations (vaccines or “shots”) for infants, children, adolescents and adults in North, South, and Central County. Vaccines protect your child against many childhood diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, and many others.

Shots are required by law for children who attend public and private schools, preschools, childcare facilities, and Head Start programs in Oregon. Nearly every place that provides care for a child outside the home requires shots or a religious or medical exemption to stay enrolled. Adults are offered Hepatitis A and B immunizations, tetanus as well as influenza and pneumonia vaccines.

Costs of immunizations are based on the cost of the vaccines, and/or administrative costs and insurance status. Oregon Health Plan (OHP) is accepted. No person meeting eligibility criteria will be denied state supplied vaccine due to inability to pay.   The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program supplies federally purchased free vaccines for immunizing eligible children in public and private practices at no cost for the vaccine.  There is a cost for administration of vaccine however.

Why should I get my child immunized?

Your child needs shots for protection against very bad diseases that can cause rashes, fevers, coughing, choking, brain damage, heart problems, crippling, deafness, blindness, and even death. Most parents of young children today have never seen a case of measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, or tetanus. If we don’t see these diseases, it can be hard to understand why it is important to protect against them. Vaccines are still given for three reasons:

  • To prevent common infections
    Some diseases are so common in this country that a choice not to vaccinate is a choice to get the disease. For example, choosing not to get the chickenpox vaccine is a choice to risk serious and occasionally fatal infection from chickenpox.
  • To prevent infections that could easily reemerge
    Some diseases in this country continue to occur at very low levels (for example, measles, mumps, rubella, and Hib). If immunization rates in our schools or communities are low, outbreaks of these diseases are likely to occur.
  • To prevent infections that are more common in other parts of the world
    Although some diseases have been completely eliminated (polio) or virtually eliminated (diphtheria) from this country, they still occur in other parts of the world. Children are commonly paralyzed by polio in India or killed by diphtheria in Russia. Because there is a high rate of international travel into and out of the United States, outbreaks of these diseases are only a plane ride away.

Do immunizations work?

YES! If your child gets the right shots at the right times, you can greatly reduce the chances of getting these diseases.

Are immunizations safe?

Reactions to the shots may occur, but they are rarely serious. The site may be tender to touch for a few days. Remember that the risk in not immunizing your child is far greater than the risk of a serious reaction.

When should my child get immunized?

Children need to get immunized when they are babies. Many parents think that children don’t need shots until they are ready to enter school. That’s not true! Children need most of their shots during their first two years, starting at birth or when they’re two months old. Children who are behind on their shots need to get immunized to “catch up” and be protected.

What if I don’t have money to pay for shots?

Even if you don’t have the money to pay for them, your public health clinic offers shots at a very low cost. At the Tillamook County Community Health Centers, no one is denied service based on the inability to pay.

Where should I get my child immunized?

You have choices. Your child’s regular health care provider can give the needed shots. Ask about shots at every visit. Clinics are available in North, Central, and South Tillamook County.

What are the 7th grade shot requirements?

As of the 2008-2009 school year, the state of Oregon is requiring additional shots for school attendance. All Oregon 7th graders need these additional shots:

  • Tdap

What are the childcare facility shot requirements?

Children in childcare and those entering kindergarten will need these additional shots:

  • Hepatitis A series (2)

What if I’m behind on my Hepatitis B vaccines?

When the hepatitis B vaccine schedule is interrupted, the vaccine series does not need to be restarted. If the series is interrupted after the first dose, the second dose should be given as soon as possible and the second and third doses should be separated by an interval of at least 8 weeks. It is not necessary to restart the vaccine series for infants switched from one vaccine brand to another, including combination vaccines.

How do I prove that my child has had shots?

Make sure that you take your child’s immunization record with you when you enroll your child in school or childcare. You will be given a Certificate of Immunization Status to complete with the date of your child’s shots. Parents and guardians can sign the Certificate of Immunization Status; there is no need to have it signed by your child’s medical provider. However, if you are 15 years of age or older you do not need a parent or guardian to sign the Certificate of Immunization Status; you may sign it yourself.

Where can I get a Certificate of Immunization Status form?

Your child’s school or childcare provider will have copies of the correct form. You can also pick up a copy at any of the Tillamook County Health Centers.

Why is it important to keep a shot record for my child at home when the doctor’s office has a copy?

Most people are busy and have trouble remembering a shot from years back. Keeping a shot record of your child’s immunizations ensures that your child will not miss any vaccinations, there will not be a need to contact the doctor to update your child’s immunization record, and will help your child from getting too many shots. Your child’s immunization record is an important part of your child’s permanent medical records that will be needed throughout their lifetime. It’s up to you to make sure your child is protected.

What should I know about thimerosal and autism?

Thimerosal is an organic mercury-based preservative used in vaccines. Thimerosal has been an additive to vaccines since the 1930’s because it is very effective in preventing bacterial and fungal contamination. There are no valid studies that show a link between thimerosal in vaccines and autistic spectrum disorder. “Since 2001, all routinely recommended vaccines manufactured for administration to [children] in the U.S. have been either thimerosal-free or have contained only extremely small amounts of thimerosal.” -American Academy of Pediatrics

Vaccine-Preventable Childhood Diseases


  • easily spread through coughing or sneezing
  • early symptoms are sore throat, slight fever, and chills
  • can interfere with swallowing and cause suffocation
  • can cause heart failure or paralysis if allowed to go untreated
  • can be prevented by a diphtheria vaccine


  • also known as lockjaw
  • enters the body through a wound
  • produces a poison which affects the body’s nervous system
  • symptoms are headache, irritability, stiffness in jaw and neck
  • causes muscle spasms in the jaw, neck, arms, legs, and abdomen
  • may require intensive hospital care
  • three out of every 10 people in the U.S. who get tetanus die
  • can be prevented with tetanus vaccine


  • also known as whooping cough
  • highly contagious
  • causes severe spells of coughing which can interfere with eating, drinking, and breathing
  • complications may include pneumonia, convulsions, or encephalitis
  • in the U.S. about 65% of reported cases occur in children under five, and half of those are infants less than one year old
  • in recent years, an average of 3500 cases are reported in the U.S.
  • can be prevented with pertussis vaccine


  • highly contagious
  • causes a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes, lasting for one to two weeks
  • causes ear infections and pneumonia in one out of every 20 children who get it
  • causes encephalitis that can lead to convulsion, deafness, or mental retardation in one out of every 1000 children who get it
  • of every 1000 children who get measles, one or two will die
  • can be prevented with measles vaccine


  • causes fever, headache, and inflammation of the salivary glands, resulting in swelling of cheeks or jaw
  • one out of every 10 who get mumps may develop meningitis, sometimes causing encephalitis
  • can result in permanent loss of hearing
  • can be prevented with mumps vaccine


  • also known as German measles
  • most serious in pregnant women; there is an 80% chance that it will cause defects in the unborn child if infection occurs in pregnancy
  • symptoms include mild discomfort, slight fever for 24 hours, and a rash on the face and neck lasting two or three days
  • can be prevented with rubella vaccine

Haemophilus Influenzae Type B

  • also known as Hib disease
  • strikes one child out of 200 before the fifth birthday
  • more serious in infants under one year of age
  • causes pneumonia and infections of the blood, joints, bones, soft tissues, throat, and the covering of the heart
  • causes meningitis in about 12,000 children per year; about one in four suffers permanent brain damage, and about one in 20 dies
  • can be prevented with Hib vaccine


  • serious cases cause paralysis and death
  • mild cases cause fever; sore throat; nausea; headaches; stomach aches; and stiffness in the neck, back, and legs also occurs
  • can be prevented with oral polio vaccine or IPV


  • also known as varicella
  • virus can be spread from person to person through the air or by contact with fluid from chickenpox blisters
  • causes a rash, itching, fever, and tiredness
  • can lead to severe skin infections, scars, pneumonia, brain damage, or death
  • a person who has had chickenpox can get a painful rash called shingles years later
  • about 12,000 people are hospitalized for chickenpox each year in the U.S.
  • can be prevented with chickenpox vaccine

Robin Watts, 503-842-3928