Did you know that only half of the foster families in Salt Lake and Tooele counties can document their immunization status? This means that Utah’s Division of Child & Family Services (DCFS) is having a tough time placing younger and unimmunized children into otherwise available homes.
The Utah Department of Health (UDoH) encourages all foster parents and any other close contacts of children who are placed in foster homes (including children in the household, grandparents, close family members and friends) to be vaccinated. The Office of Licensing and DCFS requires that all residents of a foster home are current with the recommended immunizations listed below:
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) — 2 doses of MMR, at least one month apart
- Varicella (chickenpox) — 2 doses
- Hepatitis A — 2 doses
- Hepatitis B — 3 doses
- Td/Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, whooping cough) — 1 dose Tdap; Td booster every 10 years
- Influenza — annual influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older
First step: Prove immunization status. This is done by providing your complete immunization record to the Office of Licensing. If you don’t have access to your records, contact your physician to provide this information. You can also have a Utah Foster Care representative access the Statewide Immunization database (USIIS) to determine which immunizations have been documented by your physicians by clicking the following link utahfostercare.org/shots. The representative will then send you a PDF file containing all immunizations on USIIS. If nothing is listed, contact the State Health Department in the state where you received your immunizations for access to whatever hard copies they have on file.
What do you do next? With this record in hand, you can simply set up an appointment at any pharmacy, present your immunization record and insurance card to the pharmacist. Most insurance companies will cover immunizations at no cost. However, please check with your personal insurance to confirm coverage.
Once the initial round of vaccines has been administered, you will be considered current on your immunizations and will be able to accept placement of children in foster care for whom there is no immunization history! Remember…be sure to stay up on your boosters to ensure continued compliance and check in with your doctor if you have questions about your medical care.
Should you have any questions about immunizations, Kevin DeMass of President/CEO of Apothecary Shoppe has offered his assistance. He can be reached at (801) 521-6353.