Media advisory from Buncombe County Government:
With the community gearing up for back-to-school season, don’t forget about the role vaccinations play in the overall health and wellness of children and teens. Vaccines provide protection against diseases such as meningitis, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), and others that are still seen in North Carolina. Give students the boost that they need so that they can focus on learning and growing in school this year.
Parents and guardians have 30 days from the first day of school to turn in their up-to-date immunization records for kindergarten, seventh grade, and 12th grade, and students new to North Carolina schools. With the increase in COVID-19 metrics in recent weeks coupled with seasonal viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza, it is important to take precautions by assessing your kids’ personal risks and getting updated COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
Dr. Ellis Matheson, Buncombe County Public Health Director, urges parents to get ahead of the immunization record due date to avoid long wait times in clinics and to keep children safe and learning in school. “Don’t let the required immunization date sneak up on you,” she says. “Sometimes caregivers forget that children can be excluded from school if they do not provide proof of required vaccines for North Carolina by the due date.”
The latest data released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, as part of its Annual Immunization Reporting, included the immunization status of kindergarten, seventh, and 12th-grade students in public and private schools from 2022-23. This report showed that overall, the religious exemption rate in Buncombe County increased for all three grades for the 2022-23 school year compared to 2021-22.
“Vaccines are one of the most effective means available for preventing the spread of disease,” says Dr. Susan Kansagra, Director of the NCDHHS Division of Public Health. “They help protect the health of children and families as well as the health of the entire community. You can use any health care visit, including for sports physicals, school health assessments, check-ups, and sick visits to receive vaccines.”
Buncombe County Health and Human Services officials encourage parents and guardians to talk with their healthcare providers to catch up on recommended and required vaccinations. Most vaccines are available at doctor’s offices, local pharmacies, health centers, health departments, and travel clinics.
Buncombe County’s Immunization Clinic at 40 Coxe Ave. in Asheville offers vaccinations. The community can call (828) 250-5096 to make an appointment or walk in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 8-11:30 a.m. and on Tuesday and Thursday between 1-4:30 p.m.
Children who are uninsured can be vaccinated at low or no cost through the Vaccines for Childrenprogram, which offers free vaccines to eligible children through 19 years of age. To determine their eligibility, interested community members can call (828) 250-5096.
If you are interested in accessing immunizations promotion campaign materials, contactJohanna.email@example.com.
Important information and resources:
- List of required vaccinations for schools in North Carolina
- Immunizations for Children and Teens in Buncombe County
- Guidance from the CDC on catching up on recommended vaccinations, plus a quiz for parents to find out what vaccinations their kids need
- Where to get COVID-19 vaccines
- New RSV vaccine recommended for infants