Colorado Department of Health advises COVID-19 vaccine, other vaccines for school year

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FILE- In this March 27, 2019, file photo, vials of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine sit in a cooler at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y. Research released on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, shows yet another reason to vaccinate children against measles. After a bout of measles, youngsters are more vulnerable to other germs _ from chickenpox to strep _ that they once could fend off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is asking parents and guardians to ensure that all school-age children starting their semester soon are vaccinated against COVID-19 (when applicable, age pending) and other diseases preventable via vaccination.

Children ages 11 years old and younger are eligible for vaccines that prevent 16 other infectious diseases, such as measles, mumps, varicella or chickenpox, whooping cough and more.

Already in 2021, there is a decrease in vaccination coverage according to data self-reported to CDPHE by schools and other childcare providers for the 2020-2021 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From mid-April 2020 through mid-March 2021, the data showed a decline of 5.5%. 

Excluding hepatitis B, vaccine rates for school-required vaccines fell in the kindergartner’s category–with polio and varicella falling under 90%.

Statewide, vaccination rates among Colorado child care facilities fell for all seven of the school-mandatory vaccines, remained at or above 93%.

“Staying up-to-date on existing vaccinations is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Heather Roth, Immunization Branch Chief, Division of Disease Control and Public Health Response with CDPHE. “The last thing we want is an outbreak of any kind, especially when it’s easily preventable. Let’s keep our focus on slowing the spread of COVID-19 and do what we can to give our children the best chance at safe in-person learning this school year.”

Colorado has the following tools to help parents and guardians make informed choices about vaccinations:

  • COVax4Kids.org helps people find out if their children are eligible for low- or no-cost vaccines and helps them find a provider who gives them.
  • COVaxRecords.org directs people on how to request vaccination records for their children.
  • COVaxRates.org makes it easy for people to look up vaccination and exemption rates for schools and child care facilities in Colorado so they can make the best decision for their children.

To learn more about CDPHE, visit their website here.

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