BEND, OR -- Exclusion Day for Oregon kids is February 15, when students are turned away from school, daycare or preschool if records show they’re missing required immunizations. Heather Kaisner says Deschutes County Public Health sent out about 1400 letters to families, but not all need shots. "What we do find sometimes is that their kids are actually up to date; they just maybe forgot to get that information to the school. So, sometimes it’s just a matter of looking at that record and making sure your school has that record."
Kaisner tells KBND News mandatory vaccines protect the community against dangerous preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough. "Washington state is experiencing a lot of mumps cases. Oregon, we have quite a few mumps cases; luckily, none in Deschutes County yet," says Kaisner. "But, again, that’s another one that we thought we wouldn’t see anymore and it’s having a bit of a resurgence."
School-based health centers and county clinics are open with extended hours to accommodate families. "Because vaccines are so important to the health of children, and really to the health of our community to keeping a lot of these really serious diseases away, we have the Vaccines for Children Program, which is a federally funded program. And, what it does is, it pretty much allows that any child in the U.S. can get vaccines regardless of ability to pay, regardless of insurance."
To hear our full conversation with Heather Kaisner, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.