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Time to update school shots

By Sarah Decker R.N.
   Immunization Coordinator
   Jefferson County Public Health
   When doing your back-to-school shopping don't forget your child's back-to-school shots. Vaccines are required for all children in day care, preschool, kindergarten and beyond.
   Keeping up on your child's regular shots up until the kindergarten shots at 4 years old is a good place to start, but more vaccines are needed just before children enter their teen years.
   Students in middle school and going off to live in freshman dorms need shots to help protect against life-threatening diseases including meningitis and pertussis. Preteen and teen shots often get forgotten.
   How do I know if my child needs shots?
   Vaccine schedules can be complicated. If you are not sure if your child is up to date on his or her shots contact your school, doctor's office, or the Jefferson County Public Health Department.
   Schools send out reminder letters to students in need of required vaccines before school starts. If your child receives this letter, it is a sure thing that your student needs shots now or has recently gotten shots and you haven't taken the record to the school yet.
   If you get a letter and feel your child is up to date, check your copy (usually a yellow wallet card) for the shots the school listed. If the shots are there, simply take your record to the school. If the shots aren't on your record, make your shot appointment now.
   Remember, there are professionals who can help you figure out if your child is in need of shots. If you have any questions about shots, give your nurse or doctor a call.
   Help! I lost my child's record
   With moves and spring cleaning, the warm months are a common time to lose or misplace shot records needed for school.
   Thanks to online immunization systems, records of shots given at most clinics in Oregon can be accessed from Jefferson County Public Health Department, doctor's offices and most schools.
   If you have crossed state lines, your students' shot records should be sent from their previous school. However, you may need to contact the clinic where the shots were given to get the records you need.
   If a child's record cannot be found, the shots will have to be repeated. While there is no risk to the child from receiving the shots over, it is always best to obtain old records when possible.
   Where can I go to get shots?
   Shots can be given at doctors' offices, health departments and pharmacies. Pharmacies can only vaccinate children 11 years of age and up.
   Madras Medical Group, Mosaic Medical, and Mountain View Medical and Surgical Associates carry the vaccines your children need and are available by appointment.
   Jefferson County Public Health Department has a no-appointment-needed walk-in clinic Mondays, from 2-3:45 p.m., and Fridays, 9-11:45 a.m. Clients are served on a first-come first-served basis.
   Madras Bi-Mart will make appointments for your 11 or older children. Be sure to tell them which vaccines you need when you make the appointment.
   Madras Safeway pharmacy carries your child's Tdap, Meningococcal and Hepatitis A vaccines and is available for walk-in clients 11 years old and older, Mondays and Tuesdays.
   When should I go in?
   Appointment clinics often get booked quickly as the beginning of the school year nears. To make sure your child gets his or her shots before school starts, plan ahead; make an appointment with your child's physician or pharmacist today.
   Walk-in clinics see a rush of clients as the school year gets closer, too. The wait time will be longest the week before school starts. Avoid the wait and come in as soon as you can.
   Call today with questions or for your child's appointment. Jefferson County Public Health Department 541-475-4456, Madras Medical Group 541-475-3874, Mosaic Medical 541-475-7800, Mountain View Medical Surgical Associates 541-475-4800, Bi-Mart Madras 541-475-1601, and Safeway Madras 541-325-0466.