PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregonians - if you have a child in school, you don't have much time left to make sure they are current on their immunizations or have an exemption.
Wednesday is Exclusion Day, which means any kids who don't have either of those can be held out of school.
"Immunization is an effective way to keep schools and the entire community healthy," said Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator for the Oregon Health Authority's Public Health Division. "If school and child care vaccination records are not up to date, the child will be sent home."
State law requires that all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities have up-to-date immunizations, or have a religious or medical exemption.
Getting the Shots
Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their health care provider or local health department, or call Oregon SafeNet at 1-800-SAFENET (1-800-723-3638) or 211. No one can be turned away from a local health department because of the inability to pay for required vaccines.
Locally, the Multnomah County Health Department is holding two immunization clinics this week for children who are uninsured or under insured:
- Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the State Office Building on Oregon Street in Northeast Portland.
- Wednesday, Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the East County Services Building at 600 N.E. Eight Street in Gresham.
For more information on immunizations:
- Oregon immunization rates by county
- Oregon Health Authority - Immunization safety information
- Oregon Health Authority - Vaccines Q and A
- Multnomah County - School immunization information
Bill Being Considered
On Tuesday, state lawmakers will hear Senate Bill 132, which would change how parents opt out. If it passes, it would require parents who request non-medical exemptions from immunization requirements to submit a signed form from a healthcare provider, or complete an online educational video.
The bill's supporters at the Oregon Pediatric Society say they want parents who opt out to know the risks of not vaccinating - to both their children and the community.