Public health officials urge caregivers to get children caught up on routine vaccines

September 25, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2023

CONTACT: Emily Clancy, Communications Director
Mobile: 303-653-1125
Emily.Clancy@childrenscolorado.org

Aurora, Colo. – Immunize Colorado joins public health agencies, health care providers, schools, and partner organizations across the state to call on parents and guardians to keep vaccine-preventable diseases out of Colorado classrooms and communities.

“The easiest and most effective way to make sure your child has a healthy school year is to get them vaccinated,” said Emily Bustos, the executive director of Immunize Colorado. “Let’s work together to keep our children healthy this year.”

Data for the 2022-2023 school year show decreases in kindergarten, K-12, and child care vaccination rates for all vaccines, with the most pronounced decreases observed among kindergartners:

  • With the exception of hepatitis B (90.7%), immunization rates for school-required vaccines among kindergartners all fell below 90% for the second year in a row.
  • MMR coverage among kindergartners (86.8%) is the lowest since the 2017-2018 school year.

To comply with school immunization law, a student must have on file a:

  • Record of being up to date on all vaccines required by age/grade, and/or a laboratory report showing immunity to select vaccines or diseases; OR
  • Certificate of medical or nonmedical exemption; OR
  • Written plan to become up to date.

If you have questions about school-required or vaccines recommended for children, Immunize Colorado is here to help with answers:

What vaccines are required for K-12 school entry in Colorado?
Hepatitis B, pertussis, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccines are required for K-12 school entry in Colorado — many of these are combination vaccines. In addition to these vaccines, several other recommended vaccines provide protection against other preventable diseases. These include meningococcal, hepatitis A, rotavirus, human papillomavirus, influenza, and COVID-19.

Can children receive all of their routine vaccines in the same visit?
Yes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) support giving routine vaccines at the same time or close together. Use well visits as an opportunity to get your child caught up on missed vaccines.

How much does it cost to get routine vaccines?
Routine vaccines, including those required for school, are free for most children. Medicaid, CHP+ and most private health insurers cover the full cost of all childhood vaccines. If you do not have insurance, you can get free vaccines at more than 570 provider locations statewide. Find a free vaccine provider near you.

What are common side effects for routine vaccines?
Common side effects for routine vaccines include soreness, swelling, and redness at the injection site, fatigue, body chills, itchiness, and low-grade fevers. Side effects typically go away on their own after a few days. While these side effects are common across all vaccines, they are a sign the vaccine is working how it should, protecting your child against the serious and long-term complications vaccine-preventable diseases can have. Getting vaccinated against these preventable diseases is the best way to keep your child and community safe.

“Vaccinating our children is a generous act,” Ms. Bustos said. “When we do, we not only protect our child from serious illness, but also babies who are too young to be vaccinated and people who can’t get vaccinated because of medical conditions. Join us in protecting those who are most at risk by making sure your children stay up to date on routine vaccinations.”

Colorado has tools to help parents/guardians make informed choices about vaccinating their children:

  • COVax4Kids.org helps people find out if their children are eligible for low- or no-cost vaccines and helps them find a provider who gives them.
  • COVaxRecords.org shows people how to request vaccination records for their children.
  • COVaxRates.org makes it easy for parents and guardians to look up vaccination and exemption rates for schools and child care facilities in Colorado so they can make the best decision for their children.
  • ChildVaccineCO.org has more information on routine vaccines, as well as where to find a provider who offers low- or no-cost vaccines.
  • ShotsForTotsAndTeens.org has information on weekend clinics offering low- and no-cost vaccines in Aurora, Westminster, Longmont, and Lakewood throughout the year.

ABOUT IMMUNIZE COLORADO
Immunize Colorado is a statewide, independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Its mission is to protect Colorado families, schools and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunize Colorado does not accept funding from vaccine manufacturers or distributors. To learn more, visit www.immunizecolorado.org and connect with Immunize Colorado on Facebook and Twitter.

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Immunize Colorado