Make sure your child is up-to-date on vaccines before sending them back to school

All parents and guardians should check on whether they or their children have missed any vaccines due to appointments postponed because of COVID-19 concerns. Some vaccines require more than one dose.

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “Especially during a pandemic, it is vital that all of us remain up-to-date on all our vaccines. I encourage parents and guardians to catch up with any vaccines their children have missed. By doing so, we can prevent an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable illness like pertussis or measles that could keep children from learning.”

Amler also recommends pregnant women speak to their healthcare provider about vaccinations that can protect them and their baby from serious diseases like whooping cough and flu, and reminds women that one of the advantages of breastfeeding is that it helps protect newborns before they are old enough to be fully vaccinated.

Amler said: “Vaccinations and breastfeeding pass along antibodies that provide short-term protection for babies until they are ready for their own vaccines. Ask your doctor what vaccines you need.”

Navigators available through the Health Department can help families and individuals sign up for the health insurance they need. Those without a regular doctor can learn where to go for ongoing primary care. For more health insurance information, call (914) 995-6350.

Make sure that your children are up-to-date on vaccines before school starts. New York State has eliminated religious exemptions for all children attending any public, private or parochial child caring center, day nursery, day care agency, nursery school, kindergarten, elementary, intermediate or secondary schools.

When groups of children come together, the opportunity for disease to spread is increased. School and childcare staff play an important role in assuring safe and healthy futures for Westchester County youth by ensuring that children in attendance are current on their vaccinations.

Immunization records are required for entry into and continued attendance in child care, K-12 schools, college, and other post-high school education and training in New York State. More information on the vaccines required for school entry and attendance are available at the NYSDOH website.

To obtain immunization records: Contact your health care provider, not the Westchester County Department of Health, to obtain copies of immunization records for vaccines given in New York State. Read the following carefully as it relates to where you can access immunization records:

  • If you were not immunized at a Westchester County Department of Health clinic, then the Westchester County Department of Health does not have your immunization records.
  • If you were immunized at a Westchester County Department of Health clinic, your vaccinations were recorded in the New York State Immunization Information System and can be easily accessed by your health care provider at any time.
  • If you need immunization records to enroll in school or for work and are unable to locate them, you may have to be re-immunized or take a blood test to provide proof of immunity. Please consult your health care provider.
  • If you need MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine to attend school, Westchester County Department of Health clinics can provide it for you at no charge. Please call (914) 995-5800 for an appointment.

Families without health insurance can get help signing up for health coverage by contacting a health department Navigator at (914) 995-6350 or by emailing hnav@westchestergov.com. Navigators can provide in-person assistance to residents at 25 locations throughout Westchester.


Resources:
Effective June 13, 2019: NYSDOH frequently-asked-questions regarding vaccination requirements applicable to all students