|August 17, 2004|
A BACK TO SCHOOL REMINDER TO CHECK IMMUNIZATIONS
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. With the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today reminded parents to add a check of their children's immunization and physical records to their list of things to do.
Illinois law requires that children attending any public, private, independent or parochial elementary or secondary school be immunized against nine diseases and children entering school for the first time, kindergarten, fifth and ninth grades must have a school physical examination.
"One of the easiest and most effective ways to help children grow up healthy and free from the effects of serious, preventable diseases is to make sure they get their immunizations," Dr. Whitaker said. "Vaccinations not only protect those who receive them, but they also contribute to the well-being of everyone by reducing the chance for these diseases to spread."
Dr. Whitaker said a child without the state-mandated vaccinations will not be allowed to attend school until all the immunizations have been received or until medical proof has been provided that the child has had the disease or is currently on an acceptable medical schedule to receive needed immunizations. School districts must demonstrate at least 90 percent compliance with the immunization requirements no later than Oct. 15 each year or face a 10 percent loss of state aid. School districts have the option of enforcing the requirement anytime from the opening day of school until Oct. 15.
State law does provide exemptions from the immunization requirements for religious or medical reasons.
For an exemption on religious grounds, the parent or legal guardian must submit a written and signed statement to the local school authority detailing the religious belief that conflicts with immunizations.
A medical exemption must be from a licensed physician and indicate the medical condition that precludes the child from receiving the required immunizations.
To be protected from these diseases and to be in compliance with state law, children entering Illinois elementary or secondary schools for the first time must show vaccination proof for the following:
Vaccines are available statewide through health care providers, local health department and public clinics. For information on obtaining immunizations or a school physical, individuals should contact their local health department or telephone the state's immunization hotline at 800-323-4769 (voice and TTY).
In addition to immunizations and a physical exam, state law requires children 6 months through 6 years of age who are entering a licensed day care facility, preschool or kindergarten to be screened or assessed for lead poisoning.
Children living in areas determined by the Department to be high-risk for lead poisoning must be screened using a blood lead test. Those who live in low-risk areas must be evaluated individually using a lead risk assessment questionnaire developed by the Department. The Illinois State Board of Education does not exclude children from school if they have not been tested for lead poisoning.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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