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Health Alert: Back-to-School Routine Immunization Reminders

(ITHACA, NY, August 23, 2023) – Tompkins County Whole Health (TCWH) is sharing with the community the importance of making sure your child is up to date on their routine immunizations prior to the start of the 2023-2024 school year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that children stay on track with their well-child appointments and routine vaccinations. On-time vaccination is critical to provide protection against potentially life-threatening diseases.

Children attending any public, private, or religious day care or pre-K through 12th grade school in New York State (NYS) are required to be immunized with a complete series of all required vaccines, unless they are medically exempt. A medical exemption is allowed when a child has a medical condition that prevents them from receiving a vaccine. There are no non-medical exemptions to school vaccine requirements in NYS.

If you are unsure of your child’s immunization history, speak with your child’s school nurse or contact your child’s healthcare provider.

Children who are not fully immunized can only continue to attend school or pre-K if they are in the process of completing their immunization according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) catch-up schedule. If children are following other immunization schedules that do not meet the intervals specified by the ACIP catch-up schedule, then they are no longer considered to be “in process” and must be excluded from school, if not otherwise exempt.

Within 14 days of the first day of school or day care, parents or caregivers must:

  • Show proof of their child's up-to-date vaccinations, OR
  • Provide a valid medical exemption from vaccination.

In order to attend or remain in school or day care, children who are unvaccinated or overdue must receive at least the first dose of all required vaccines within the first 14 days. They also must receive subsequent vaccines in the series within a 14-day period of when they are due to complete the immunization series.

Tompkins County Whole Health offers immunization clinics every Friday through the New York State funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. Clinics are open from 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm by appointment. Your child may be eligible for participation in our Friday clinics if they:

  • Do not have insurance
  • Are currently enrolled in Medicaid
  • Have Child Health Plus
  • Are underinsured: their insurance does not cover the vaccine
  • Are Native American or Alaska Native

Parents can find out more about the recommended immunization schedule at

Learn more about Whole Health’s Community Health Services online at or call the office directly at 607-274-6604.

Tompkins County Whole Health (formerly the Tompkins County Health Department) envisions a future where every person in Tompkins County can achieve wellness. Find us online at, and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TCWholeHealth. Get Whole Health updates or other county announcements via email or text, sign up here.

Media contact: Shannon Alvord,