Not for op-ed
Date: August 19, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public Health Officer Reminds Parents of the Importance of Immunizations
As children are heading back to school, the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency Public Health Officer, Dr. Constance Caldwell, would like to remind parents of the importance of immunizations and clarifying school immunization laws.
You may have heard about a new law called Senate Bill (SB) 277 that will eliminate the personal belief exemption in California. Please note that this law does not take effect until 2016, and thus does not affect school entry this fall. Children entering kindergarten or 7th grade this year are required by law to have certain immunizations. This fall the law is the same as it was in 2014. Students must have the required immunizations, or have a permanent medical exemption, or have a personal belief exemption that has been signed by their physician. If students have begun but not completed the required immunizations they may be admitted to school conditionally. You may visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html for information on immunization schedules from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are helpful charts on the site that give information for parents and their children.
Dr. Caldwell states, “These immunizations are important to protect our children against several serious contagious diseases, including measles, mumps and whooping cough. Not only are immunizations essential for protecting our own children, they can also serve to protect other children who cannot be vaccinated because of medical conditions. It is called ‘herd immunity’ when those who are vaccinated also protect others who are not, but it only works when a very high percentage of the population is vaccinated.”
Parents needing to have their children immunized are encouraged to call their clinic or physician for an appointment. Recommended routine childhood immunizations (0 through 18 years of age) are available by appointment at HHSA Public Health in Ukiah for those who qualify for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program. VFC eligibility criteria includes those who are eligible for Medi-Cal, CHDP, are uninsured, underinsured, Native American or Alaskan Native. Please call HHSA Public Health (707) 472-2600 to make an appointment.