There are plenty of errands to run before sending your student back to school. But there’s one thing you have to do or else your student won’t be able to attend the first day – get the proper immunizations for your child.
“Basically the underlying purpose is to keep us all healthy,” said Kern Public Health nurse Ann Walker. “These diseases are preventable by vaccinating.
Ann Walker was one of the nurses on Hand Friday afternoon at the Kern Public Health Dept. where they offered people on of their final chances to get appropriate vaccinations before schools begins (for most) on Monday, August 20th.
Unless you get a waiver for medical or religious/personal belief reason, you have to get all the state-mandated vaccines. (Click here for a link to California requirements by grade level).
One parent found that out the hard way.
“I received a phone call from [my son’s] school very last minute, first thing this morning saying he wouldn't be allowed in school unless he got a specific shot,” said Lynnette Gibson.
Others knew the shots they needed and just wanted to get this chore out of the way.
“Definitely want to get this done,” said Giovanni Cardenas, whose daughter, Crystal, is going into 1st grade this fall. “That’s all she needs, then she’ll get to school on Monday.”
In California, the focus is on immunizing students at an early age, usually before they enter kindergarten.
“For kids going into kindergarten they need to get their whooping cough shot. “They need to make sure they're up to date on Hepatitis B; their Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine; their chicken pox vaccine,” said Walker.
But there is also an important booster shot to be given before a student enters 7th grade.
“The kids entering 7th grade, there was a law passed last year that they're required to have the ‘Tdap’ whooping cough vaccine [booster] before entering 7th grade. So if they've not had it, they need to get it before entering school this year,” said Walker.
Getting certain vaccinations is no longer free at many health departments. But, Walker said the Kern Public Health clinic on Friday charged a maximum of $40 per family.
For a list of health department locations across Kern County offering vaccinations, click here.
Through the California Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, certain students can qualify for free immunizations.
For a list of clinics that have participated in the VFC program in the past, click here.
Make sure to ask clinics if they are accepting new patients into the program.