Health Commissioner Letter to Families Regarding Immunization

Health Commissioner Letter to Families Regarding Immunization, April 2024




Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD


April 5, 2024


Dear Parents and Guardians,


Making sure your child is up to date on their vaccinations is critical to keeping them

healthy. Vaccines prevent many life-threatening diseases from entering our schools and

communities. Currently, there are measles outbreaks in several countries, including the

U.S. In 2024, there have been four cases of measles in New York City (NYC). There

also has been a recent increase in pertussis (whooping cough) in the U.S. and here in

NYC. In 2022, there was even one case of polio in New York State, a dangerous

disease that had not been seen in the U.S. since 2013. All these diseases are

preventable through routine childhood vaccination.


As the City’s doctor and a parent of school-age children, I am asking for your help to

make sure our children have the vaccines they need to protect themselves and our



Please check your child’s immunization records and take your child to their

health care provider to get any missing vaccines. If you do not have their records,

contact your child’s provider so they can tell you if your child is up to date on their

vaccinations or which vaccines they still need. You can also visit My Vaccine Record

online at to see your child’s records if your

child was vaccinated in NYC or their provider entered their records from elsewhere.

Your child’s school can also let you know which vaccines your child still needs for

school attendance.


Decreases in measles vaccination rates around the world have led to outbreaks, which

have increased the chances of unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. getting sick and

spreading the virus when they get home. Measles is extremely contagious but almost

entirely preventable by the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The MMR

vaccine is safe and provides 97% protection against measles after two doses. If you

will be traveling this spring or summer, especially to other countries, make sure

your child has had both doses of the MMR vaccine. Your child’s provider may

recommend a modified vaccination schedule so your child is protected when traveling.


For information on NYC school vaccination requirements, visit

life/health-and-wellness/immunizations. If you do not have a provider, visit or call 844-NYC-4NYC (844-692-4692) to find an

NYC Health + Hospitals location near you. You can also visit the NYC HealthDepartment’s Fort Greene Health Center in Brooklyn. Appointments are required: Visit and search for immunization clinics to fill out the online appointment

form, or call 311 for questions about scheduling an appointment.


We encourage you to also talk to your child’s provider about other vaccines, such

as COVID-19, influenza (flu) and HPV (human papillomavirus), which, although not

required for school attendance, are important in protecting your child’s health. Only half

of adolescents age 13 are up to date with their HPV vaccination, despite the HPV

vaccine being extremely effective at preventing cancers caused by HPV.


We want you and your family to stay healthy this spring and beyond. I encourage you to

visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Information for Parents and

Caregivers webpage at for more information about



I wish you and your family a safe and healthy spring recess.



Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD


New York City Department of

Health and Mental Hygiene