With the start of the school year fast approaching, Central Oregon public health departments remind parents to make sure their children have all the immunizations they need to go to school.

“It’s really important to remember serious diseases such as measles and pertussis still exist and can cause severe illness in children,” said Jill Johnson, immunization program coordinator for Deschutes County Health Services. “High immunization coverage in schools is one of the best defenses we have against these diseases spreading in our community.”

Oregon law requires that children in school, preschool, or a childcare facility need proof that they are protected against measles, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A and B, and varicella. Parents should take note that one dose of Tdap vaccine is required for incoming 7th-graders. Tdap is a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) booster. Whooping cough is a serious health concern in Oregon with cases in Deschutes County every year.

Parents must have documentation showing proof of immunizations, a medical exemption, or a non-medical exemption on file with their child’s school.

Only those who have a medical reason for not being vaccinated or have completed the education required for a non-medical exemption are exempt.

Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their healthcare provider, county public health department, or a School-Based Health Center (SBHC) to make an appointment: Deschutes County: 541-322-7499; Sisters – Sisters SBHC 541-526-6623.

For more information about children’s immunizations, visit: www.deschutes.org/immunizations or call 541-322-7499.