Northwest NEWS

August 20, 2001


Reminder: Immunizations required for school

The new school year is just around the corner, and Public Health - Seattle & King County is reminding all families about necessary immunizations for children to attend school and childcare in September.
   "To make sure your children don't miss one day of school, you must be sure immunization records are up to date," said Dr. Alonzo Plough, Director of Public Health - Seattle & King County.
   For complete information and Public Health's immunization clinics in King County, call (206) 296-4949 or visit
   For a list of special school immunization clinics in the community, visit:
   Requirements for 2001-2002 school year
   Kindergarten through 4th grade:
   • Students entering kindergarten and 1st grade will be required to show proof of having received two doses of measles-containing vaccine, one dose of mumps-containing vaccine, and one dose of rubella-containing vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that these doses be given as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), but students can be considered fully immunized with one MMR and one dose of a measles-containing vaccine, if both are given after the first birthday and at least 28 days apart.
   • Students entering kindergarten and 1st grade are required to have the appropriate series of diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (DTaP or DTP) and polio vaccines.
   • For students entering kindergarten through 4th grade and for those children less than 7 years of age who are enrolled in preschool or child day care, a 3-dose series of hepatitis B vaccine is required. The hepatitis B vaccine series takes a minimum of 4 months to complete. Schools will allow entry if the child has not completed the 3-dose series as long as documentation is provided to show the hepatitis B series is in progress.
   Sixth grade and students new to the district:
   • All students entering 6th grade and students new to their school district are required to receive a second dose of measles-containing vaccine, one dose of mumps-containing vaccine and one dose of rubella-containing vaccine, preferably given together as MMR.
   Students aged 11-17 years:
   • Although a tetanus/diphtheria booster is recommended for students aged 11-17 years, this recommendation has been deferred because of a national tetanus/diphtheria vaccine shortage.
   Risks in not vaccinating
   There is a risk when choosing against vaccination. In addition to the potential risk of becoming infected with a vaccine-preventable disease if exposed to the illness, a child who is not fully immunized also may be excluded from attending school or childcare during an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.
   A parent or legal guardian has the right to choose not to immunize a child, based upon medical, religious, or philosphical reasons. The parent or legal guardian must sign an exemption for the child to enter school without receiving the required vaccines. The exemption form is on the back of the Certificate of Immunization Status which the school provides.