Preparing for School Includes Vaccinations

Grinnell Regional Public Health offers vaccinations to prepare children for school. Getting all the recommended vaccines is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health.

“Protect children from diseases and missed school,” says Patty Hinrichs, Grinnell Regional Public Health director. “And, vaccines protect more than just children. Some diseases such as the whooping cough can be deadly for newborns or infants. You are protecting a larger population by avoiding the disease.”

Hinrichs adds, “The first day of kindergarten can be exciting and parents want everything to go right. But if the student doesn’t have vaccinations documented, they could be facing a shot in the arm on the first day of school. We want to help parents plan for this requirement and not wait until the first day of school.”

Facts to consider about vaccinations, according to the National Immunization Awareness Month.

Immunizations create a shield of protection at school and at home. Given recent outbreaks, parents can protect children with a vaccine from dangerous and highly contagious diseases like pertussis (whooping cough) and measles.

Many parents have never witnessed the damaging effects of a vaccine-preventable disease. As a result, they are not aware of the continued importance of getting all children vaccinated.

Diseases like measles are only a plane ride away. Measles epidemics are occurring in the Philippines with nearly 32,000 cases as of April 2014.

When a child comes down with a disease such as whooping cough, chickenpox or the influenza, he or she may miss a lot of school while recovering. And, someone will need to stay home to provide care and make trips to the doctor.

In Iowa school districts, children are required to provide proof of immunizations by the first day of the school year. This requirement applies to home-schooled children as well. Your school should provide information on requirements. Or, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Immunizations and TB, at

Iowa Code 139A.8 requires all students enrolling in an Iowa school to submit proof of immunizations to the admitting official using a signed Iowa Department of Public Health certificate of immunization or a provisional certificate, unless a valid certificate of religious or medical exemption has been submitted.

Parents should request a copy of their child(ren)’s immunization records from the primary care provider and give a copy to the school district. Vaccinations can be administered at several primary care clinics or at the Grinnell Regional Public Health Clinic. To schedule an appointment for immunizations at the public health office, call 641-236-2385.

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