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Parents Urged to Put Immunizations on Back-to-School List

By law, students need all of the required shots before attending classes

Dr. Elliot Schulman, a health officer with the Santa Barbara County Health Department, urges parents to make sure their children are fully immunized before classes start this fall.

By law, California schools must review children’s immunization records to ensure that students have received all required shots for school entry. Immunizations are available through private doctors, community health clinics and Public Health Department immunization clinics.

Schulman says immunizations remain a safe and effective way to keep the children of Santa Barbara County healthy and in school. Vaccines help control many infectious diseases that were once common in this country, including chickenpox, hepatitis, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella (German measles) and polio.

High immunization rates of 93.3 percent in 2008 for all Santa Barbara County kindergarten entrants are expected to continue as schools and health care providers work closely with families during back-to-school registrations.

The Public Health Department also reminds parents that all children age 6 months or older should be immunized against seasonal influenza. In addition, it is likely that another vaccine to protect children against Pandemic H1N1 flu will be available later in the fall or early winter months, and that vaccine may require two doses.

For more information about California school immunization requirements, vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases, click here or call the Public Health Department Immunization Project at 805.346.8420.

— Michele Mickiewicz is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

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