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Mayor Bowser and DC Health push for child vaccinations

Mayor Bowser and the DC Health Department are encouraging families to vaccinate their children before the new school year begins.

WASHINGTON — Mayor Muriel Bowser is getting a head start on school preparation just as the summer begins. Bowser and the DC Health Department are encouraging families to vaccinate their children ahead of the 2022-2023 school year.

“We know that immunizations are essential in protecting the health of our children and our most vulnerable residents throughout our communities," said Bowser.

In an effort to give D.C. families more access to follow required student vaccination protocols, the city will offer more access to immunizations, extend outreach to families and provide resources to healthcare providers and schools, according to a release.

Bowser says that now is the best time for children to go to their pediatricians so they can be up to date on their vaccinations. Additionally, D.C. officials say that the best place to access immunizations is at a person's primary medical provider, and if a family does not have one for their child, there are pediatric clinic locations in each ward of D.C.

Officials say in order for students to be allowed to attend school, D.C. law requires all students in the District, not just public school students, to fully comply with vaccination requirements. Schools must also verify the vaccination status of every student that is attending. A student cannot go more than 20 days at school without their vaccinations being verified.

Vaccination services will be provided at more locations such as school-based health centers, District Mobile Medical Unites and the Vaccine exchange. 

Families that have students ages four and up will have access to visit any of the school-based health centers in the city. The D.C. Health Department will be placing mobile units at schools, recreation centers, COVID-19 centers and other areas throughout the city in partnership with multiple community providers starting in August.

In an effort to communicate with families about immunization statuses, the D.C. Health Contact Trace Force will be calling families whose children are not up to date with their immunizations and putting them in contact with health care providers. Additionally, letters will be sent to families from school-based personnel about their child's immunization requirements and general messages will be sent out to the public about getting up-to-date vaccinations.

State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant said that if someone's child is not up to date on their immunizations, they should "expect to hear from us."

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