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Don’t forget those shots!

School starts just two weeks from today, but not for new students without immunization cards.

Sherri Willis, the public information officer for the Alameda County Public Health Department, said that when she worked in OUSD, hundreds of kids would miss the first few days of school — in some cases, more — as a result. 

Some families wait until mid-summer to make an appointment with their pediatrician and can’t get one in time, or they misplace their records, she said.

But don’t panic! You can take advantage of the public health department’s free and low-cost immunization program. It’s designed for uninsured families, but everyone can use the service — no questions asked, Willis said.

Check out the clinic locations, dates and times here. Most are first come, first served. If you have immunization questions, you can call (510) 267-3230. Here’s an updated schedule of required shots, if you’re interested.

By the way, I’ve fallen way behind on my medical news: I just learned that the chicken pox is no longer a rite of passage for school-age kids! As a survivor, I feel gypped.

image from ninjapoodles’ Web site at flickr.com/creativecommons

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    I wonder about what happens to the families who fail and neglect to ever get their kids immunized – or enroll them in school? Maybe it would be more efficient if roving health dept teams went to the schools and immunized the undocumented students on site. This would remove one more impediment to getting the underclass kids up and running on schedule – so they don’t get “left behind”.

    Arrangements could be made to warn the parent(s) one day before that your kid is on record as not being immunized so he/she will be given shots at school if you return the permission slip, or disenrolled if you don’t sign or produce the immunization proof by that date.

  • Sue

    I know several families who declined to immunize – some completely skipped all vacinations, some who delayed the current recommended schedule and spread out vacinations over a several-years-longer period.

    My kids got everything they were supposed to, when the AAP recommended it. So far, my family has escaped any in-our-faces suggestion that older son’s autism was caused by receiving too many vacines when he was too young.

    All of that is simply a preface to this:

    Parents and families have a right to refuse to vacinate their child(ren). The family’s reasons may be religious, or health-related, or … whatever. As long as it’s documented, the child still has a right to attend school. I don’t think either right should be restricted.

  • Caroline

    Even though I have good friends who refuse to vaccinate — and I recognize that they have the legal right to do so when it’s a public school requirement — I have to point out that it is a choice with potential harmful impact on others.

    1. The more un-immunized members of the group, the higher the risk that they and others will get sick. As I understand it, immunization doesn’t always confer total immunity, but the “herd effect” when all or almost all members of the group are immunized does. There was a pertussis outbreak (whooping cough) at an East Bay Waldorf school not long ago, for example.

    2. A lot of parents don’t immunize because they’re concerned about the side effects. But they feel safe because most other children in the group are immunized. So what kind of person thinks it’s OK for everyone else’s kids to risk the side effects so theirs can avoid them?

    Public institutions have to allow families an exemption for First Amendment reasons when it’s due to religious beliefs. When I was on the board of a co-op preschool, we required immunizations, though. I strongly feel that was the responsible thing to do.

  • Nextset

    While some parent(s) may chose to refuse immunization the bulk of the non-immunized kids just don’t have functioning “parent(s)”. I have seen slideshow photographs of schoolchildren in a CA US school district with teeth rotted out. It’s not just the immunizations the parents are not taking care of. Even when health insurance is abailable for free or essentially free we hae “parent(s)” not bothering to fill out a form, or make a phone call or in any way to sign up the kid for coverage. Ditto when the kid is sick just not bothering to take them to a Dr.