NWPC Blog

Do Kids Need Vaccines in Oregon During COVID-19?

As our children face returning to school in an online environment, many parents are wondering if their children will still need to be immunized. Whether your child is starting school for the first time or becoming a junior at Lincoln High, a new school year usually means another doctor’s visit to ensure they get the vaccines they’ll need before heading to class. Should parents take their children into the doctor’s office for vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

The answer is yes. It is not recommended to delay or miss scheduled vaccinations, and unfortunately, social distancing measures alone are not enough to keep children safe from vaccine-preventable diseases. Our clinics are following stringent precautions outlined by the Governor of Oregon and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Do you have questions about which vaccines are required for Oregon schools? Curious to learn more about why immunizations in Oregon are a vital step in protecting your kiddo’s health? In celebration of National Immunization Awareness Month, we’re providing helpful information that covers which vaccines your kids need before going to school in Oregon.  

Health benefits of vaccines for kids

In addition to being a state requirement for incoming students, immunizations are among the most effective methods for protecting the health of your children and our community. What are the benefits of vaccinating your children? For starters, vaccines can prevent your child from dangerous or life-threatening diseases. They also protect our community by reducing or preventing the spread of sickness and disease. 

Oregon school vaccine requirements.So, how do vaccines work? Vaccines work by helping your body build an immunity to certain infections by stimulating your immune system, which is primary for fighting off illnesses. Vaccines mimic an infection, which in turn causes an auto-immune response to fight the “infection,” and therefore establishes an immunity to the virus without causing severe illness. Once the infection is eradicated, T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes remain in your system and work to fight that disease. In many cases, immunity will last throughout a person’s lifetime. The benefits of vaccines are various–from saving your child’s life to protecting future generations and for different other health reasons. And no, you cannot get sick from vaccinations. 

Vaccines required for schools in Oregon 

Are you unsure which vaccines are required for schools in Oregon? The answer to that question can vary based on age. Here is a list of age-appropriate immunizations based on grade and Oregon school standards:

School vaccines for children 18 months or older entering preschool, child care or head start: 

  • 4 Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (DTaP) 
  • 3 Polio 
  • 1 Varicella (chickenpox) 
  • 1 Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) 
  • 3 Hepatitis B 
  • 2 Hepatitis A 
  • 3 or 4 Hib 

School vaccines for kids entering kindergarten or grades 1-6: 

  • 5 Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (DTaP) 
  • 4 Polio 
  • 1 Varicella (chickenpox) 
  • 2 MMR or 2 Measles, 1 Mumps, 1 Rubella 
  • 3 Hepatitis B 
  • 2 Hepatitis A 

School vaccines for kids entering grade 7 – 10: 

  • 5 Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (DTaP) 
  • 1 Tdap 
  • 4 Polio 
  • 1 Varicella (chickenpox) 
  • 2 MMR or 2 Measles, 1 Mumps, 1 Rubella 
  • 3 Hepatitis B 
  • 2 Hepatitis A 

School vaccines for kids entering grades 11 – 12: 

  • 5 Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (DTaP) 
  • 1 Tdap 
  • 4 Polio 
  • 1 Varicella (chickenpox) 
  • 2 MMR or 2 Measles, 1 Mumps, 1 Rubella 
  • 3 Hepatitis B 

Additionally, it’s important to remember that the number of doses required varies based on the child’s age and how long ago they were vaccinated. Check with your child’s school or an NWPC healthcare provider for specific information tailored to your child’s needs.  

Oregon Immunization Exclusion Day 

Nearly every education and childcare facility in Oregon requires kids to be fully immunized based on the schedule above. To avoid any disruptions, we recommend completing your child’s vaccination schedule before each school year. So, when is Oregon’s School Exclusion Day? It almost always falls on the third Wednesday of February, so you’ll need to complete your child’s vaccinations before then in order to be compliant. 

If you experience any delays in getting the necessary vaccines before the first day of class, parents may receive an exclusion notice. This notice, usually mailed in the fall or early winter, will tell you that your child has not met the school’s immunization requirements. We don’t want that to happen, so if you receive an exclusion notice, contact your NWCP health provider to get back on track with your child’s immunization schedule today. 

Factoring in COVID-19 and potential school closures 

Vaccines are designed to protect our families at every stage of their lives. Depending on Oregon’s decision to reopen schools in the fall of 2020, we recommend staying on schedule with your child’s vaccines – even if they’re learning from home. Doing so will support their immunity and better protect them and our communities from the infectious diseases associated with the vaccines they need. It will also keep them on track for returning to the classroom when it’s safe to do so with proper immunizations. 

Immunize your kids at Northwest Primary Care 

Looking for a friendly and professional health care provider for all your Portland, Oregon immunization needs? At NWPC, we provide all the necessary vaccines for your child. We’re also here to answer any immunization questions you might have when preparing for the upcoming school year. Parents don’t forget your vaccines too! Contact us today to schedule an in-person appointment today!