MESSAGE TO PARENTS
Because parents today rarely see the devastating effects of diseases
like polio and whooping cough, they might wonder why immunizing
their children is still important. They want to do what's best for
their family and their community, but they may have questions. Is
immunization necessary? Are vaccines really safe?
The following information helps answer these questions:
- Childhood immunizations are the safest and most effective
way to keep children from getting very sick.
- In the last 50 years, vaccines have nearly wiped out measles,
polio, and some forms of meningitis.
- Vaccines strengthen the immune system by helping the body
to recognize and fight some viruses and bacteria. Vaccines work
well even in the smallest infant - who faces the most serious risk
from the infectious disease.
- Infants are more vulnerable to infectious disease than older
children because their immune systems cannot easily fight off bacteria
or viruses. The effects of disease are more serious in infants than
in older children. That is why it is so important to protect infants
- A child is much more likely to suffer permanent harm from
the actual infection than to have a health problem from an immunization.
Serious vaccine side effects are very rare.
- Immunizations are extremely safe due to advanced medical
research and ongoing review by doctors. National databases constantly
monitor potential problems with vaccines.
- Vaccines not only protect the child who receives the immunization
but they also protect every one of us from these terrible diseases.
As we vaccinate more children, we increase protection for people
who haven’t received all their vaccinations.
Immunizations are one
of the most important ways parents can protect their children against
serious diseases. Children should have 80 percent of their immunizations
by age two.
- Many vaccine-preventable diseases have no cure or treatment.
- A disease may not currently be present in a community, but
disease outbreaks occur in communities that are not protected, or
through international travel.
- Among unimmunized populations of the world, 600,000 children
die each year from Pertussis (whooping cough). In 1999, King County
had 461 Pertussis cases –the highest level in 30 years.
- 55,000 cases of measles and 130 deaths were reported during
the 1989-1991 measles epidemic in the U.S. Failure to vaccinate
children against measles by 18 months of age was a major cause of
- Immunizations save money. The infections cost 16 times more
in medical expenses than what vaccines cost. This does not include
costs to families, such as lost days of work, school and childcare.
CDC National Immunization Program - www.cdc.gov/nip/publications/vis
National Network for Immunization Information - www.immunizationinfo.org
Immunization Action Coalition - www.immunize.org
American Academy of Pediatrics - www.aap.org/healthtopics/immunizations.cfm
WA State Department of Health - www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/immunize
HOW DO I GET A COPY OF MY IMMUNIZATION RECORD?
While it is your personal responsibility to keep an accurate record
of all immunizations, we are happy to provide you with the records
we have. You may FAX a request (206-546-8436), send it in writing
or call us. But please give us at least 48 hours to accurately transmit
the requested data. Under new federal HIPAA rules, parents whose
children are over eighteen years of age may not request medical
information without the express written consent of that person.
2011 SCHOOL AND CHILD CARE IMMUNIZATION EXEMPTION LAW
Washington state law requires that children must be immunized against certain
vaccine-preventable diseases before attending a licensed childcare or school.
Parents and guardians meet this requirement by filling out and turning in a
Certificate of Immunization Status form, showing their child has the required
vaccinations. Effective July 22, 2011, the new law changes what guardians must
do to exempt their child from one or more of the required vaccines.
1) What is different?
If parents or guardians want to exempt their child from immunization
requirements, they must first get information about the benefits and risks of
vaccinations from a licensed health care provider. The provider will sign the Certificate of Exemption form that parents have to turn in to the school or
childcare to exempt their child. Instead of using the form, providers may choose
to write and sign a letter verifying the same information. The health care provider
signature is not required for parents or guardians who demonstrate membership
in a church or religious body that does not believe in medical treatment. The
law takes effect July 22, 2011, and applies only to exemptions that parents or
guardians claim on or after this date.
2) How can Richmond Pediatrics help?
We are eager to help our families with this process as much as possible.
Please collect and review any outside immunization records for your child and
let us know how you would like us to help. As long as your child is up to date on
well child visits and you have discussed immunizations with your provider in the
past year, we will provide the required forms to you free of charge. Please bear
with us that we are handling a flood of incoming forms.
If your child is due for a well child visit or has not been seen at our clinic for a
long time please schedule a visit at your convenience to discuss immunizations,
review growth, health and development, or discuss any concerns you might have
with one of our doctors.
Please allow for 5 business days for a nurse to review and process requested
immunization certificate. Please allow 10 business days for your doctor to
review requests for exemption signatures. We appreciate your patience and
understanding in dealing with these new regulations.
3) Why was the law changed?
The new law makes sure exemptions are based on conviction, not convenience
since Washington has one of the highest school exemption rates in the nation.
Diseases spread quickly in schools and child care centers so that recently we
have had outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, and swine flu. Unimmunized
children are more likely to get and spread a disease vaccines can prevent.
Immunizations save lives especially for Infants and medically fragile children.
During an outbreak, the children with exemptions must be sent home until the
outbreak is over or until they get vaccinated. Having fewer convenience-based
exemptions will keep our communities healthier reduce the burden on our
4) What does “conditional” status mean for school or childcare
Children are in “conditional” status if they do not have one or more required
vaccines on their first day of school attendance or, in some cases, after they’ve
begun school or child care. Children in “conditional status” can attend school or
childcare for a limited time. From the time parents/guardian are notified they have
30 days to:
• Get the child vaccinated.
• Show a record of past vaccination.
• Exempt their child for the missing vaccine.
Some kids may not have immunizations part of a series with intervals between
doses. In these cases, the child will remain in conditional status as long as
necessary to complete the series according to recommended guidelines. In all
other cases, if a parent does not take action within 30 days, the child must be
excluded from school or childcare.
5) Will parents have to redo an exemption from previous years?
An exemption form on file at a school or licensed child care that was turned in
before July 22, 2011 is still valid for the exemptions indicated on that form. But,
as kids progress through school, different vaccinations are needed to meet age-
appropriate immunization requirements, and at that time a new exemption form
will have to be turned in.?
6) Where can I find out more details?
Please refer to http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/Immunize/schools/exemption-info.htm