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August 9, 2022

Free vaccination events provide required back-to-school immunizations

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On or before the first day of instruction, all K-12 students in Washington state must be up to date on vaccinations required for school, whether attending classes in-person or remotely. King County children through age 18 can get all vaccines required for K-12 school entry, as well as COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, at upcoming free clinics.

Vaccinations required for school entry are available at free, convenient vaccination events throughout August in Seattle, Federal Way, Renton, and Auburn. Clinics will be hosted by Stepping Stone Pediatrics, Seattle Children's Hospital/Odessa Brown Clinic, and MultiCare in collaboration with school districts and community-based organizations. Check King County's Find a Clinic webpage for a full list of free vaccination clinics, locations, and times. This webpage will be continuously updated as additional events are scheduled.

Each of these events will provide all vaccines required for K-12 school entry, including Tdap, DTaP, MMR, hepatitis B, varicella, and polio.

In addition, free COVID-19, HPV, and meningococcal vaccines will be available for children up to age 18. Clinics that are held in September will also include the annual flu vaccine, and additional flu vaccine sites will be listed on as we move into fall.

As routine medical visits were postponed during the pandemic, childhood vaccination rates have dropped. In 2021, 13% fewer vaccines were administered to King County children ages 4 to 6 years old, compared to the pre-pandemic five-year average (2015-2019).

“Childhood vaccinations are vital to protect both our children and the community from serious illnesses,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Vaccines have been so effective in decreasing once common, life-threatening childhood infections that it's easy to forget how important it is to keep our children protected from those illnesses. The only reason we don't see diseases like childhood meningitis, measles, polio, and tetanus more often today is because the majority of children are vaccinated. I'm grateful to our community partners for their help in making childhood vaccinations free and easy to get for everyone.”

You do not need to be an established patient to receive free vaccinations at any of these clinics. Vaccinations will be available to everyone, at no cost, regardless of immigration or citizenship status. Families may be asked for insurance information but won't be charged. No one will be turned away for lack of insurance.

Please wear short sleeves. Families are strongly encouraged to bring any vaccination records available. Interpretation available upon request.

Updates to school and childcare vaccination requirements this year

Students in preschool or kindergarten, including transitional kindergarten, who are four years old or older on September 1st, need to have a booster dose of DTaP, polio, MMR and varicella vaccines. In other words, the booster doses originally required for kindergarten entry are now required at age four. Students between the ages of 4 and 5 on September 1st will also need PCV and Hib vaccines for school entry. More information about these changes is available on the Washington State Department of Health's School Immunization Chart.

Washington State Department of Health provides a complete list of vaccinations required for K-12 school and childcare.