Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman is reminding parents about the new state vaccination laws.
In June, New York State lawmakers voted to end religious exemptions from immunizations required for school children.
Public health law no longer allows non-medical exemptions to school vaccination requirements, for children attending day care and pre-K through 12th grade in New York State, Gelman said.
"We urge parents to contact their children’s medical care providers, as it is imperative that children who attend daycare or public, private or parochial school meet all requirements," she said. "Children with non-medical exemptions must now be vaccinated to attend or remain in school.”
Students with a valid medical exemption from a physician are not affected by this change. Medical exemptions must be reissued annually, completed and signed by a New York State-licensed physician, said Dr. Gelman.
Dr. Gelman noted the following upcoming deadline:
Within 14 days of the first day of school or day care: Children must receive the first age-appropriate dose in each immunization series to attend or remain in school or day care.
Within 30 days after the first day of school or day care: Parents or guardians must show they have appointments for the next required follow-up doses for their child. Deadlines for follow-up doses depend on the vaccine.
Dr. Gelman said the measles outbreak continues in Orange County with several new cases in the past weeks. There have now been 57 reported cases of measles in the county.
People who lack immunity, or who are not sure if they have been vaccinated, are at risk of developing measles, Dr. Gelman said. Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis and/or runny nose. Symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and may take as long as 21 days.
Families must review the pertinent information and work with their children’s healthcare provider to make sure all immunization requirements are met at start of the school year. The Orange County Department of Health regularly holds immunization clinics for uninsured or under-insured residents. Call 291-2330 for more information.
“Immunization remains one of the most impactful public health interventions available and making sure our children are up to date on all of their required vaccinations is critical to protect all of us from vaccine preventable diseases,” Gelman said. “Collectively, we can help ensure that our children have a healthy head-start on a successful school year.”