Routine medical visits were postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a drop in childhood vaccination rates. To combat the drop in childhood vaccination rates and to get students up to date on vaccinations, free vaccination events will be hosted throughout August in Seattle, Federal Way, Renton and Auburn.
According to Public Health- Seattle & King County, 13% fewer vaccines were administered to King County children between the ages of 4-5 in 2021, compared to the pre-pandemic five year average, which ran from 2015-2019.
On or prior to the first day of instruction, all Washington students must be up to date on vaccinations that are required for school when attending both in person classes or remote classes. Vaccinations required for K-12 school entry include Tdap, DTaP, MMR, hepatitis B, varicella and polio.
“Childhood vaccinations are vital to protect both our children and the community from serious illnesses,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Vaccines have been so effective in decreasing once common, life-threatening childhood infections and that’s easy to forget how important it is to keep our children protected from those illnesses.”
The Washington Department of Health updated school and childcare vaccination requirements for this year. Students in pre-K or Kindergarten, including transitional Kindergarten, who are 4 years of age or older need to have a booster dose of DTaP, polio, MMR and varicella vaccines. The booster doses were originally required for entry into Kindergarten, but are now required at the age of 4. Students who fall between the ages of 4-5 years on September 1 will also need PCV and Hib vaccines for school entry.
The clinics will also provide COVID-19, HPV and meningococcal vaccines to interested individuals. The vaccines will be available to everyone at no cost, regardless of immigration, citizenship or insurance status. Families may be asked for insurance information, but will not be charged.
Times and locations of clinics offering back-to-school immunizations will be regularly updated, and clinics to be held in September will include the annual flu vaccine.
The clinics will be hosted by Stepping Stone Pediatrics, Seattle Children’s Hospital/Odessa Brown Clinic, and MultiCare, in collaboration with school districts and community based organizations.
Click here to find a back-to-school vaccination clinic.