San Juan County Health and Community Services will be providing free immunizations for Orcas Island School students at the Orcas Island School District’s Back to School Kickoff/BBQ on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Immunizations will be provided to Orcas School District K-12 students in the modular building next to the District Office on a first come, first served basis. No appointment is necessary.
Nineteen cases of Varicella, or “chicken pox,” have now been confirmed in the Orcas Island community. Because new cases have been diagnosed over the summer, the outbreak that began at the end of May is still ongoing. Health & Community Services and the Orcas Island School District wants to ensure that children returning to school are vaccinated to prevent additional cases; and minimize the potential for children being excluded from school if another case is diagnosed in the school.
If another case of varicella is identified in a school student, per Washington State law, the parents of children without evidence of immunity from varicella are advised to have their child vaccinated with the appropriate dose of varicella vaccine. If vaccination is contraindicated or refused, unimmunized children will be excluded from school for up to 21 days after the last case is identified. This means that:
If the student has had NO doses of varicella vaccine – they must receive their first dose before returning to school, and schedule an appointment for second dose of vaccine;
If the student has had ONE dose of varicella vaccine and is eligible for their second dose – they must receive the second dose before returning to school.
Varicella is a highly contagious infection, and symptoms include fever, fatigue and a rash that typically progresses from the head to other parts of the body. Those most vulnerable to complications of varicella are: persons older than 15 years of age who have not been vaccinated or had the infection, newborns and infants younger than one year, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems.
If you have questions about vaccinations or varicella, please contact your health care provider, or San Juan County Health & Community Services at 360-378-4474.
Additional information and resources may also be found on the San Juan County Health & Community Services