Unimmunized children in Oregon to be sent home from school

Oregon parents are nearly one month away from needing to provide schools and daycare centers with proof that their children are up to date on their required immunizations.

If parents do not supply that proof by February 20, a day known as exclusion day, the children will be sent home. After engaging in a similar practice last year, 4,618 children were sent home from school or daycare in February for failing to comply with state vaccination laws, the Oregonian reports.

Stacy de Assis Matthews, the school law coordinator of the Oregon Health Authority's Public Health Division, said that the numbers for 2013 look to be similar.

"Immunization is an effective way to keep schools and the entire community healthy," Matthews said, according to the Oregonian. "We want to make sure children are fully protected against vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough."

New vaccination requirements for 2012-2013 include a change in the schedule for Tdap and hepatitis A. Other required immunizations include vaccines against chickenpox, polio, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella.

Only children whose parents were granted a medical or religious exemption from the law are allowed to attend school after exclusion day without the required immunizations. Those children could be disallowed from attending school in case of a disease outbreak, the Oregonian reports.