JUNEAU - Starting July 1, children attending kindergarten through sixth grade need two doses of valid varicella (chicken pox) immunization to attend school. Children may have a medical exemption, religious exemption or medically verified history of chicken pox disease to meet this new requirement. Unvaccinated children without an exemption will be excluded from attending school and school activities.
A parental statement of disease history is no longer acceptable. If you believe your child previously had chicken pox disease, please contact your child's doctor about verification of history of disease.
A statement of medical exemption or history of disease can only be signed by an Alaska licensed physician, advanced nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant. A copy of the official form may be obtained at www.epi.alaska.gov/immunize or from the Juneau Public Health Center.
For more information or appointments, call the Juneau Public Health Center at 465-3353. The Health Center is located at 3412 Glacier Highway, across from Twin Lakes. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Juneau Public Health Center is a member of Vaccinate Juneau Kids Coalition, which will give varicella and Tdap vaccines at the Early Learning Fair from 2 to 6 p.m. Aug. 18 at Gastineau Elementary School.
Chicken pox is a common childhood disease. It can be a mild illness but can also lead to severe skin infection, scarring, brain damage, and even death. Immunizing children protects them and others who cannot be immunized for medical reasons. It also decreases the severity of the disease should the immunized child still get the disease.