With the new school year starting, the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services is urging parents to make sure their children’s vaccinations are up to date.
“Vaccines are the safest and most effective way to prevent illness,” said Ira Singh, DHHS deputy director of Public Health. “They provide protection from serious diseases that can be spread in the classroom setting.”
New this year, parents who want to exempt their children from one or more required immunizations due to personal beliefs must provide the school with a statement from their health care practitioner.
“Parents of kindergarten and 7th grade students must provide the new personal belief exemption form to the school signed by the health care provider along with records of any immunizations received,” Singh said.
The California Department of Public Health form states that the parents have been provided with information from their practitioner about the benefits and risks of immunizations “including the health risks to the student and the community resulting from declining the recommended immunizations,” according to the CDPH website.
The following immunizations are required to enter kindergarten and transitional kindergarten:
* DTaP-Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis
* MMR-Measles, mumps and rubella
* Hepatitis B
* Varicella (Chickenpox)
The Tdap booster (Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) is required for children entering 7th grade.
“Currently, California’s whooping cough (pertussis) epidemic continues to be a threat," said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the CDPH. "As families make plans for heading back to school, they should also make sure their children all have their immunizations required for child care or school. That includes an adolescent whooping cough booster (Tdap) for students entering 7th grade."
“Vaccinating is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health and the health of the community,” Singh said.
Vaccines are available from clinics and other health care providers. For more information about immunizations, contact the DHHS Public Health Clinic at (707) 268-2108.
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