School district reminds families about immunization deadline

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 7:31 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - If you have a child or children enrolled in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District (FNSBSD), it’s time to check their immunization status.

The school district announced that November 20 is this school year’s deadline for families to turn in their children’s immunization records. In compliance with the state’s “No Shots - No School” policy, once this deadline hits, any child who is not compliant with the district guidelines will be asked to stay home from school until their immunizations are up to date.

The required vaccines are available for free from any medical provider enrolled in the Alaska Immunization Program. This includes any local pharmacy, your family provider, or the Fairbanks Public Health Center.

However, one common misconception about the program, according to Fairbanks Public Health Center Manager Shelly Anderson, is that families can get these vaccines without any payment.

“Because the vaccine is free does not mean that there aren’t any costs attached with getting the vaccines,” Anderson said. “Many of our clinics charge an office visit, they charge an administration fee.”

Because the school will need documentation, be sure to ask your pediatrician for a copy of your child’s immunization record so you can drop it off at the school’s health office or administrative office.

Christopher Hindman, the FNSBSD Director of Nursing Services, recommends accessing the Docket app, which the school district uses to track immunization records, to check whether or not your child needs further immunizations this year. Hindman pointed out many immunizations do expire over time, so just because your child completed the early round of childhood vaccinations does not necessarily mean they are in the clear.

“For example TDAP is an immunization that is needed frequently for kids that are in high school,” Hindman explained. “That’s when the 10-year TDAP is due because they had their 10-year TDAP 10 years before that. So now they’re due for their next shot. So now they’re going to be a non-compliant.”

“It’s because of the vaccines, and getting them in our children, is the reason we don’t see these childhood diseases anymore,” Anderson emphasized. “I always say, measles is just an airplane ride away.”

According to Alaska State law, personal and philosophical exemptions to these immunization requirements are not allowed. However, exemption forms for religious and medical reasons can be found on the school district’s website.