Health Department: Back-to-school prep should start with immunizations

It may seem early to think about summer break ending, but it’s time for Washington’s children to get ready for school.

With outbreaks of whooping cough, flu, and chicken pox in our state in the last year, and a large measles outbreak just across the border in Canada, the Health Department wants parents should make sure their children are protected by being fully immunized.

The Health Department says childhood vaccinations are among the most effective ways to protect children against serious, preventable illnesses – some of which have no cure or treatment.

“Parents make many important decisions to keep their children healthy, and getting immunized is one of the most important”, said Dr. Maxine Hayes, pediatrician and state health officer. “Be sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date; it protects them, their classmates, families, and communities."

All recommended vaccines for children younger than 19 are provided at no-cost through the state’s Childhood Vaccine Program. This includes vaccines required for school and child care, and vaccines that aren’t required but are recommended for best protection, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) for pre-teens. Your health care provider may still charge an office visit or administration fee, but this can be waived if you are unable to pay.

“Washington’s Childhood Vaccine Program shows our state’s commitment to preventing the spread of serious disease,” Hayes said. “We’ve made it easy for parents to take advantage of the best way to protect their children and those in their community."

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