With just a few weeks left of summer break, the Knox County Health Department (KCHD) is reminding parents that now is the time to make sure their child’s vaccinations are up to date. All students entering preschool, kindergarten or seventh grade and those entering a Tennessee school for the first time should receive state-required immunizations. Before the first day of school, parents must provide their child’s school with a state immunization certificate, which documents receipt of the vaccinations.
“Childhood immunizations remain one of the most effective ways to safeguard the health of our children,” said KCHD Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. “Whether they come to the health department or any of the other local providers, we encourage parents to make sure this important task is on their back-to-school to-do list.”
Those who wish to have their child vaccinated at the health department, should call 865-215-5070 to schedule an appointment. At the appointment, parents should have their photo ID, insurance card if applicable, and their child’s vaccination record if they have it. The health department is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Appointments are available at all three locations: Downtown Knoxville at 140 Dameron Ave.; North Knox County at 405 Dante Road; and West Knox County at 1028 Old Cedar Bluff Road.
Both immunizations and immunization certificates are available at pediatrician offices or any KCHD location. Parents may contact their child’s pediatrician or the KCHD Immunization Program, 865-215-5150, to determine if their child has received the required vaccinations. More information, including a list of the state-required vaccinations by grade level, is available on KCHD’s website at knoxcounty.org/health.
Tennessee’s vaccine requirements follow recommendations from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Childhood immunizations are vital in protecting children from potentially serious diseases. The CDC estimates vaccinations will prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years. In addition, vaccines are widely considered one of the most well-researched and safe medical interventions available. In fact, data show that the current U.S. vaccine supply is the safest in history.