August is National Immunization Awareness Month

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP -August marks a national health campaign to raise awareness on the importance of immunizations. All throughout this month health professionals along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases are reaching out to communities to educate and promote vaccines.

According to CDC the use of vaccinations could mean the difference between life and death. Some diseases have become rare or have been eradicated through vaccination use, such as smallpox. However the choice to vaccinate is still optional due to no vaccination law enacted by the federal government, other than the requirement in all 50 states that children receive certain vaccinations before entering public schools. Children are required by most states to receive diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and tetanus vaccines before entering public school, however, medical exemptions can be given if the child has had an adverse reaction to a prior vaccine or is allergic to a vaccine component

During the August awareness campaign the CDC is seeking to decrease the number of people opting out of vaccination by reaching out to communities through education outreach.

“Vaccines have reduced many diseases to very low levels in the United States. For example, we no longer see polio, a virus that causes paralysis, in our country. Not only do vaccines help the patient, they also protect people who come in contact with the patient. Infants and the elderly have decreased immune systems. Being vaccinated helps protect these populations,” said Dr. Jason McKerry with the Tulalip Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

This year, Washington State was among 17 other states that experienced a high percentage of measles cases, a first in 20 years. As of July 30, 585 confirmed cases of measles have been reported throughout the nation, 27 of them in Washington. Similarly, cases involving pertussis, or whooping cough, have been on the rise. As of July 26, Washington State Department of Health reported 219 cases of whooping cough, 6 of those reported in Snohomish County, while Grant, King and Pierce Counties each reported 30 or more.

Through the use of vaccinations the risk of infection is reduced. Vaccinations, explains the CDC website, work “with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to disease.” This means vaccinations aid the development of immunity through imitating infection so when the body does encounter the disease, the body will recognize it and fight the infection with antibodies it has created.

“Serious infections like pneumonia, bacteremia, a bacteria infection that gets in the blood and spreads to the whole body, and meningitis, an infection of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, can occur with lack of vaccinations. Most of these diseases can be treated with medicine, if caught early enough, but serious negative outcomes can occur if the infection spreads rapidly. These include brain damage, hearing loss, chronic lung disease and even death. It is best to be safe and vaccinate early, before you have a chance to contract a life-threatening disease,” said Dr. McKerry about the risks associated with not vaccinating.

Vaccinations can be administered at private doctor offices, public community health clinics and community locations, such as schools and pharmacies for a reduced price, however most insurance plans do provide coverage cost for vaccinations.

“I always encourage a patient to obtain vaccines from a primary care provider who knows them best and can offer the most current advice on vaccines,” Dr. McKerry said, who went onto to explain that children should be vaccinated before the age of two. “Your child should be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, rotavirus, a virus that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea. Diptheria, tetanus and whooping cough, haemophilus influenza B, a virus that causes pneumonia and ear infections, among other infections, pneumococcus, a bacteria that causes pneumonia and ear infections, among other infections, and polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), varicella (chicken pox) and a yearly flu vaccine.”

For more information about immunizations or immunization schedules, please visit the website Or please contact the Tulalip Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic at 360-716-4511.


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;


Parents get a B+ for kids’ back-to-school shots in Snohomish County

Is your child up to date? Vaccines required for school are available to children at no cost

Source: Snohomish Health District

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. –– More 5 and 6 year olds in Snohomish County had all the vaccines they needed to enter school last year, according to recent data released by the state Department of Health. For the 2012-2013 school year, 86.3 percent of local kindergarteners were up to date on their shots, better than past years and higher than the state average of 85.6 percent

Vaccines are required for school children because they prevent disease in a community setting. The rate of vaccination has continued to climb since an all-time low in 2008-2009

School districts report vaccination rates to the state. The highest immunization rates for all grades (K-12) in Snohomish County last school year were in Lakewood (94.8%) and Everett (94.7%) school districts.

A small percentage of families seek exemption from the vaccination requirement, an average of 5.3 percent in Snohomish County schools compared to 4.5 percent statewide for children entering kindergarten.

In 2011 the process for parents or guardians to exempt their child from school or child care immunization requirements was changed. Parents need to see a medical provider to get a signature on the Certificate of Exemption form for their child’s school. More information about the form and the law is available online at

Although exemptions are allowed for medical, religious, or personal reasons, the best disease protection is to make sure children have all their recommended immunizations. Children may be sent home from school, preschool, or child care during outbreaks of diseases if they have not been immunized.

Summer is a good time to make sure your children are up to date on required shots. The cost of childhood vaccines is subsidized by federal and state government so that every parent can choose to have their child protected without regard to cost.

Required childhood vaccines are available for the school year 2013-2014.

  • · Two doses of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine or doctor-verified history of disease is required for age kindergarten through grade 5. Students in grade 6 are required to have one dose of varicella or parental history of disease.
  • · The whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine, Tdap, is required for students in grades 6-12 who are 11 years and older.

Recommended vaccines also are available.

  • · Varicella vaccine for children in grades 7-12 who have never had chickenpox.
  • · Meningococcal vaccine for adolescents age 11-12. A second (booster) dose at age 16-18 if first dose was given at ages 11-15.
  • · A three-shot series of human papillomavirus (HPV) for both adolescent boys and girls age 11 and older.
  • · Children 12 months and older should receive hepatitis A vaccine, a two-shot series.
  • · Flu vaccine for all people age 6 months and older.

Snohomish Health District promotes routine vaccination of children and adults.

Snohomish Health District’s Immunization Clinic will serve you if your family does not have a health care provider. A visit to a Health District clinic includes a check of your child’s record in the Washington Immunization Information System, the state’s immunization registry.

Parents should beat the rush by making appointments now with their child’s health care provider. At the Health District, parents can make an appointment during normal clinic hours at either the Lynnwood or Everett office.

A parent or legal guardian must accompany a child to the clinic, and must bring a complete record of the child’s immunizations. You need to fill out a Snohomish Health District authorization form to have another person bring your child to the clinic. Ask the clinic staff to mail or fax a form to you.

Health District clinics request payment on the day of service in cash, check, debit, or credit card. Medical coupons are accepted, but private insurance is not. The cost can include an office visit fee, plus an administration fee per vaccine. Reduced fees are available by filling out a request based on household size and income.

Teens also occasionally require travel vaccines for out-of-country mission work or community service. The Health District offers those immunizations and health advice for traveling in foreign countries.

Please call if you have questions, concerns or to schedule an appointment: SHD Immunization Clinic 425.339.5220.

Read more about the state’s vaccine requirements for school-age children and child care. Find more information about Washington’s school immunization data.

Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease

prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Health District at


Back-to-school shots hours:

SHD Everett Immunization Clinic, 3020 Rucker Ave, Suite 108, Everett, WA 98201


By appointment: 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday-Friday

SHD Lynnwood Immunization Clinic, 6101 200th Ave SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036


By appointment: 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday

NOTE: Both clinics will be closed on weekends and on Labor Day, Sept. 2.