Health Team

Hundreds of students still without shots

Posted September 22, 2008 4:04 p.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2008 12:09 p.m. EDT

— More than 1,000 Wake County students could be suspended from school Wednesday if they don't get the required vaccination today.

Clinics were planned Tuesday in 17 of 20 traditional-schedule middle schools in the county to help sixth graders beat the deadline.

A state law that went into effect in January requires that sixth graders provide immunization records showing that they have had the Tdap booster within 30 days of the start of school, or face suspension. The suspension is not a disciplinary measure.

Appointments with doctors can be arranged through Wake County Human Services at 919-212-7000.

The deadline for students in Wake, Durham, Johnston and Cumberland counties is Tuesday; the deadline for those in Lee County is Wednesday.

As of Tuesday morning, almost 1,500 students in Wake County had not had the shot, school records showed. In Durham County, 400 students needed the vaccination. More than 400 students each in Johnston and Cumberland counties still needed to be vaccinated.

Lee school officials sent warning letters to parents last week after records showed that 150 students still had not had the booster.

The immunization requirement changes reflect the growing threat of whopping cough, Mary Owens, supervisor of nursing for the Lee County schools said. Most children have not had a booster shot for that disease since kindergarten.

After several outbreaks in North Carolina schools last year, health experts realized that the standard, 10-year vaccine does not do enough.