Immunizations

Immunizations

At a Glance

The San Mateo County Office of Education supports SB 277 and immunization for all medically eligible children. Here’s why:

Immunizations are safe. Vaccines are some of the most extensively tested and highly regulated medicines available. They are licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and go through rounds of review and clinical trials to ensure a high degree of safety. As with all medicines, there are risks of serious side effects, but those risks are small compared to the benefits of being vaccinated. Lastly, there is no link between vaccines and autism, and the idea that there are negative health effects when multiple vaccines are given at the same time has been disproved.

Immunizations protect others who can't be immunized. There are currently about 20,000 kids in San Mateo County who cannot be immunized—either because they're too young or because their immune systems are compromised. The only way for these children to be protected is if a critical percentage of the population has been immunized. This percentage is called the "immunity threshold" and can be different for different diseases. Measles, for example, is extremely contagious and requires a threshold of 95%. Because of the vaccine exemptions currently allowed in California, many kindergartens and childcare centers do not meet this threshold. This puts at risk the lives of children who can't be immunized for medical reasons.

Immunizations effectively eliminate dangerous diseases. Even the diseases we consider mild today, such as chicken pox, can present complications serious enough to land children in the hospital. Vaccines are the best way to protect people from these diseases without being exposed to their complications. And they really work!

The Impact of Vaccines in the United States

DiseaseBaseline 20th Century Annual Cases2009 CasesPercent Decrease
Measles 503,282 71 99.9%
Diphtheria 175,885 0 100%
Mumps 152,209 1,991 98.7%
Pertussis (Whooping Cough) 147,271 13,214 91.0%
Smallpox 48,164 0 100%
Rubella 47,745 3 99.9%
Haemophilus influenzae type b, invasive (HiB) 20,000 35 99.8%
Polio 16,316 0 100%
Tetanus 1,314 18 98.6%

The widespread use of these vaccines in the United States has contributed to a 90–100% decrease in the number of cases we see for each disease every year. However, if too many people avoid getting vaccinated, diseases can reappear, which leads to outbreaks that put our communities in danger.

Statement from San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Anne E. Campbell:

"Immunizations play a vital role in protecting our children's health. I encourage all parents to ensure their children's immunizations are up to date. Let's all do our part to keep San Mateo County's children healthy and in school!"

FAQs

When do I need to get my child vaccinated?

It's important to follow the recommended immunization schedule to ensure that your child is protected from 14 potentially serious diseases. You can find the full schedule on the CDC website:

If your child misses a shot, you don't need to start over. Just contact your doctor or pediatrician to discuss the best way to get your child back on track.


Where can I get my child vaccinated?

If your child is covered under private health insurance, he or she can be vaccinated at your doctor or pediatrician's office.

If your child is NOT covered under private health insurance, there are 13 immunization clinics in San Mateo County that offer health exams and immunizations at low or no cost. For a full list, refer to the County of San Mateo Health System website:

 

What happens if I choose to not have my child vaccinated?

California recently passed a law eliminating the religious and personal belief exemptions for immunizations. Starting July 1, 2016, unless your child has a valid medical exemption, he or she will not be able to enter kindergarten without having all recommended shots. Students with existing exemptions will be allowed to continue in school until his or her next vaccine check, which happens in kindergarten, seventh grade, and any time a student changes schools.

If you choose to not have your child vaccinated, he or she will not be allowed to attend public or private school in California and must enroll in homeschooling or independent study.

Sources