As Hamilton County students prepare to return to school Monday, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department wants to ensure parents have taken the steps to protect their children from illness and have the proper immunization certificates for their kids.
In order for a student to enroll in preschool, kindergarten or seventh grade—or to be newly enrolled in a Tennessee school—the state requires an immunization certificate.
According to the Health Department website, Tennessee law requires documented proof of immunizations; otherwise, children may be prevented from attending child care, grade school or college.
“The increases in pertussis [whooping cough] cases and incidences of disease outbreaks that have recently taken place across the country illustrate it is now more important than ever to protect our infants, children and adolescents from vaccine preventable diseases,” Nettie Gerstle, communicable disease program manager for the Chattanooga–Hamilton County Health Department, said. “The single most important way to do this continues to be immunizations.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of vaccine-preventable diseases have seen a decrease of 74 to 100 percent since the vaccines were created and became required.
“Many of the viruses and bacteria are still circulating in this country or are only a plane ride away,” according to the website. “That's why it's important that children, especially infants and young children, receive recommended immunizations on time.”
To obtain any needed vaccinations or school immunization certificates, contact your medical provider or local health department.
Vaccinations are available during regular clinic hours on a walk–in basis at many department clinics. For more information on locations and clinic hours, call 423-209-8393.
To view the immunization requirement summary, please click here.