What you you need to know about back-to-school immunizations

(source: Knox County Health Department)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knox County Health Department is reminding parents of children entering preschool, kindergarten or seventh grade or those enrolling in a Tennessee school for the first time to make sure their children’s immunizations are up to date prior to the start of the school year.

Once your child’s immunizations are complete, parents must also provide their child’s school with a state immunization certificate, to verify the vaccines before the first day of school.

“You’ll present it to the school. It can’t just be a list, it has to be validated. It will say validated by Tennessee Immunization System,” said Pam Powers, the clinic supervisor at the Knox County Health Department’s Teague Clinic.

Powers said some parents wait until August to get their child’s immunizations updated, which means longer lines and wait times. She encourages parents to make your appointment now.

The Knox County Health Department is available to help parents in this process. They offer vaccines and immunization certificates. You can schedule an appointment by calling 865-215-5070.

At the appointment, parents or guardians should bring photo ID, insurance card and the child’s vaccination record. Most insurance plans cover preventive services such as vaccines, but parents are encouraged to confirm this with their insurance provider prior to the appointment. Vaccines are available to children who do not have insurance at no cost. There is a minimal fee for administration.

Depending on what part of the city you live in, there are a few different convenient clinic locations.

  • Main Offices and the Travel and Immunization Clinic, 140 Dameron Avenue, 865-215-5070
  • Teague Clinic, 405 Dante School Road, 865-215-5500
  • West Clinic, 1028 Old Cedar Bluff, 865-215-5950

For Children with medical or religious exemption to requirements:

Medical – Physician (MD, DO) or department Public Health Nurse authorized to indicate specific vaccines medically exempted (because of risk of harm) on the new form.  Other vaccines remain required.  The medical reason for the exemption does not need to be provided.

Religious – This exemption requires a signed statement by the parent/guardian that vaccination conflicts with their religious tenets or practices.  If the child needs documentation of a health examination for the school, it must be noted by the healthcare provider on the immunization certificate.  In that case, the provider should check the box that the parent has sought a religious exemption to explain why immunization information is absent or incomplete.

More online: Required vaccine list and more information on how to make your appointment with the Knox County Health Department

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