Child receiving vaccine

Oscar flexes his muscle as he gets his vaccinations caught up to stay in school. Photo courtesy of Multnomah County Health Department

Lillian Shirley, RN, MPH, MPA
Multnomah County Health Department Director

February 15 is School Exclusion Day. Exclusion day is when local public schools, pre-schools, Head Start programs, kindergartens, private schools, and other children’s facilities will begin denying admission to students who do not have their required vaccines up to date. Families will receive letters stating that their children must have their shots (be vaccinated) by the school exclusion date of Feb. 15, 2012, or those students will not be admitted to school.

Throughout February, the Multnomah County Health Department will hold a series of immunization clinics for children who are uninsured or underinsured to bring them up to date on their vaccinations and enable them to stay in school. Families with health insurance are encouraged to see their regular medical provider. Parents are asked to bring letters they have received from the school or county health department and their children’s immunization records to their providers or clinics.

Immunizations in school-aged children help to ensure the health of our entire community, now and in the future. In addition to protecting the community from vaccine-preventable diseases, like whooping cough and hepatitis A, immunizations ensure children will not miss school days.

Frequently asked questions about childhood immunizations:

Q: My child missed his/her scheduled dose of vaccine. Do they have to start over?

A: No. If your child misses some immunizations, it’s not necessary to start over. Your doctor or clinic will continue the shots from where your child left off. Also don’t forget to bring any vaccine record you have to your child’s vaccine appointment so the doctor/clinic can tell what shots your child needs.

Q: Do immunizations make you ill or give you the disease the vaccine is supposed to prevent?

A: Vaccines are made from killed or weakened bacteria or viruses. None of these can cause disease except in very rare conditions. It’s common for babies and young children to have sniffles, ear aches, and colds. When a child gets one of these illnesses a couple days after a shot, parents sometimes think there’s a connection. However, the only connection between the child’s shot and the illness is timing.

Q: Will immunizations will give my child a bad reaction?

A: Like any other medicine, vaccines occasionally can cause reactions. Usually these are mild, like a sore arm or a slight fever. Serious reactions are rare, but they can happen. Your doctor or nurse can discuss the risks with you before your child gets his or her shots. The important thing to remember is that the diseases immunizations prevent are far more dangerous than the vaccines themselves.

Q: My child is getting more than one vaccine. Won’t it overload his/her immune system?

A: Several studies looked at this possibility and their data indicated that the recommended vaccines are as effective given in combination as they are given individually. Also, such combinations have no greater risk for side effects and are less traumatic for the child.

Para información específica acerca de las clínicas de vacunación y los costos, favor de llamar al 503-988-3406 o visitar