Immunization deadline nears

Feb. 9, 2011

Hood River Public Health mailed out 375 letters to parents in the county on Feb. 2, advising them that their child may be excluded from school beginning Feb. 16 if immunization records are not up to date for their children.

The Oregon Immunization Program and local public health officials want parents to know that children will not be able to attend school or child care starting Feb. 16 if their records on file show missing immunizations, or do not have proper documentation for religious or medical waivers.

According to Hood River Public Health Nursing Supervisor Trish Elliott, local school principals and operators of day care facilities and preschools received copies of the letters sent out.

"Children will be held at their school's offices for pick-up and kept home until their immunizations are completed," said Elliott.

Immunizations are available at most primary care provider offices in Hood River County. The public health office also provides immunizations through its walk-in service.

"For qualifying children, there are several programs which cover the cost of vaccines," said Elliott. "Immunizations prevent the spread of communicable diseases. School children are in close proximity to each other and we want to make sure our schools are as healthy as possible."

State law requires that all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities be up-to-date on their immunizations, or have a documented religious or medical exemption.

"This will be enforced," said Elliott. "Most people do comply with the letters right away, but occasionally we have a few who miss a few hours of school until it is taken care of."

The Hood River County Public Health Department is located at 1109 June St. and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. No appointment is necessary for immunizations. No one can be turned away from a local health department because of the inability to pay for required vaccines.

Beginning Jan 1, 2011, pharmacists are now able to immunize children age 11 and older. Parents should contact their neighborhood pharmacy for details.

Information for parents about updated vaccine requirements:

• Parents of children through age 4 should check to make sure their children's Hib immunizations are current. In recent years, there was a shortage of the Hib vaccine that protects against Haemophilus influenzae type B, a severe bacterial disease, so children weren't required to be up-to-date - but Hib vaccine is now plentiful.

• Parents of adolescents should be aware that one dose of Tdap vaccine is required for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders. Tdap is a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) booster.

• The Hepatitis A vaccine, which protects against a communicable viral infection, is a two-dose series required for children 18 months and older in child care, preschool, kindergarten, first and second grade.

• Additional information on school immunizations can be found at the Immunization Program website at

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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