The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is encouraging parents to get their children immunized now before school starts in the fall and avoid long wait times and possible delays to meet new state requirements.
“Immunization requirements help us achieve a high level of vaccination coverage to prevent disease outbreaks among our school children,” said Nigel Turner, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Communicable Disease division director. “It also helps protect vulnerable people in our communities – those who are too young or immune compromised to receive vaccinations,” Turner said.
This year could be especially busy for immunizations because of the expanded state requirement that all students have two doses of the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine before school starts. Students who have already had chickenpox do not need the vaccine, but they must have verification from a doctor.
From the 2014-15 school year to the 2015-16 school year, immunization rates increased for Pierce County kindergartners for:
• All required immunizations – from 86.3% to 87.6%.
• Whooping cough immunizations – from 94.7% to 95.2%.
• Measles immunizations – from 92.2% to 93.1%.
“With rates higher than the state average, we are doing good work to reduce the likelihood of disease outbreaks,” Turner said. “Parents, school nurses and staff, and health care providers are working together to increase immunization rates and raise community immunity,'” Turner said.
Find a list of immunization requirements by grade, information about the chickenpox vaccine requirement, and a calendar of free immunization clinics on the department’s website.