Washington, DC – With the official start of school less than two weeks away, the DC Department of Health (DOH) reminds all parents and guardians of children who attend school in the District, to get their children’s immunization for the school year as soon as possible. All public, parochial, charter and private school students are required to be up-to-date on all vaccinations prior to the start of the school year on August 22, 2011. Parents and guardians are encouraged to schedule vaccination and physical examination appointments with their primary care physician, as well as their dentist to ensure that their children will be ready for the upcoming school year. Parents should also bring their children’s immunization records with them when taking their child to get vaccinated, as all District students will be required to present documentation of required vaccinations by the first day of school.
“Every child in the District of Columbia must have the full range of required vaccines in order to protect them from infectious diseases. Children who are not immunized are at risk of missing significant amounts of school and spreading infection to their classmates,” said DOH Director, Dr. Mohammad Akhter. “Parents and guardians should not wait to vaccinate or assume their child is up-to-date on immunizations. Parents and guardians should do everything they can to provide their child with the most important back-to-school supply this year - their health protection.”
The following are required immunizations for all students:
- Hepatitis B
- Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine
The following immunizations are required for specific students:
- 4 years of age or younger - Pneumococcal Vaccine and Hib (1-4 age appropriate doses)
- Hepatitis A (children born after January 2005)
- Sixth through twelfth grade - Meningococcal Vaccine, Tdap booster if five years have passed since last dose of DTP/DTaP/Td beginning at age 11
- Female students enrolling in grades six, seven or eight - Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV)
Parents and guardians that do not wish to have their child receive the HPV vaccine for any reason can opt-out. Parents should submit a completed HPV Opt-Out Form, located here, with the rest of their child’s immunization forms. This form only applies to the HPV vaccine.
The Department of Health provides free vaccines for healthcare providers that serve Medicaid eligible children and the uninsured. DOH also provides free immunizations for uninsured and under-insured District residents at its express clinic located at 6323 Georgia Ave. NW, Suite 305. For more information about childhood immunizations, contact DOH’s immunization clinic at (202) 576-9325.