WENATCHEE - The clock is ticking for any parents with children who attend classes in the Wenatchee School District (WSD) to become fully compliant with Washington State’s immunization mandates.
“We do follow up,” said WSD School Nurse Julie Robinson. “So, for example, families that get one letter from us, they might try to ignore it or set it aside, (but) you’ll get a another letter from us. We always come back to you. Families have an opportunity if they choose not to get vaccinated, of course that’s fine, that’s their right, we just need to get a letter signed by the doctor.”
Parents who opt not to have their children vaccinated don’t need to provide a reason why, but they are required to see a physician along with their child to learn about the potential risks of non-immunization and have the doctor sign an official document from the state which gets filed with the school district.
“The Wenatchee School District really has done a fine job,” says Robinson. “Everybody has totally stepped up in recognizing the importance of monitoring our students’ compliance with different vaccines that are required by the state.”
There are a total of seven vaccinations which the state requires for kids by the time they turn age seven or begin attending kindergarten, including those which protect against Polio, Hepatitis B, Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenza, Pneumococcal Conjugate, measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox.
There are also another round shots which are both required and strongly encouraged when a child reaches age 11 or enters sixth grade.
“At that time, (students) need to have a Tdap, which is required by the school system (and) by the state of Washington,” explained Robinson. “It is recommended that they get the HPV, which is a cervical cancer vaccine and also the meningococcal vaccine, which is a meningitis vaccine. Those are currently not required for school attendance, but they are strongly recommended. The other vaccine that’s not required would be Hepatitis A, although we find that most of our kids are getting Hepatitis A, that’s a pretty easy sell to families.”
Parental compliance with Washington’s immunization requirements in the Wenatchee School District is very high by state standards. Of the District’s 7,864 currently enrolled students only 61 are not up-to-date on their vaccinations and parents still have until the District’s winter break in December to have them completed.