Knoxville, Tenn. — With just a few weeks left before school starts, 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. Regardless of whether a student will attend in-person or virtually, 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 and our community,” said KCHD Senior Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. “This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. We can’t afford to have another disease outbreak in the middle of a pandemic, especially if there is a vaccine that can prevent it.”
Parents are encouraged to call their child’s provider to get the necessary immunizations. Children are also encouraged to get a yearly physical, which can be done at the same appointment.
If children are not able to visit their primary care provider, KCHD is offering back to school immunizations (by appointment only) for children entering kindergarten and the seventh grade. KCHD will hold its ‘back-to-school’ immunization opportunity at all three clinic locations from August 11 through 18, including Saturday, August 15. The hours will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On August 14 and 17, KCHD will be open until 5 p.m. Please contact the clinic at which you would like to make an appointment:
• Main Location: 140 Dameron Ave.; 865-215-5070
• Teague Clinic: 405 Dante Rd.; 865-215-5500
• West Clinic: 1028 Old Cedar Bluff Rd.; 865-215-5950
At the appointment, parents should have their photo ID, insurance card if applicable, and their child’s vaccination record if they have it. We encourage only one parent to accompany the child/children at the appointment in order to maintain physical distancing.
If you believe your child is up to date on vaccines and only needs the immunization certificate, contact your primary care provider to see if they have it available. If they don’t and/or the child has recently moved to Tennessee and needs their records transferred, call KCHD’s Immunization Program at 865-215-5150.
More information, including a list of the state-required vaccinations by grade level, is available on KCHD’s website. Tennessee’s vaccine requirements follow recommendations from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Additionally, for those in need of birth certificates, requests are to be made by mail only. Please use the following steps for mail requests:
1) Fill out the birth certificate request form here;
2) Place completed form, a copy of your State ID or driver’s license, and $15 fee (per each certificate request) in an envelope; and
3) Mail to Knox County Health Depart Attn: Vital Records, 140 Dameron Ave, Knoxville, TN 37917.
Once Vital Records receives the mail request, a certificate will be mailed out within 1-2 business days.
Please note, the mother, father, legal guardian (with a copy of custody paper included), spouse, or person themself can request birth certificates, and the address stated on the request is the address the certificate will be mailed. For questions, please call 865-215-5100.
About Knox County Health Department
The first health department in Tennessee to achieve national voluntary accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Knox County Health Department (KCHD) is dedicated to ensuring the conditions in which every resident can be healthy. As a chief health strategist for the community and with more than 260 employees, KCHD’s broad scope of work includes convening partners to improve community health, identifying community health threats, investigating disease outbreaks, conducting extensive outreach and education, preparing for public health emergencies, providing and connecting the public with medical care, enforcing food safety and air quality laws, and more. For more information, visit www.knoxcounty.org/health.