State News

Schools begin suspending students over outdated shots

Posted September 26, 2008 8:00 a.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2008 4:49 p.m. EDT

— Hundreds of sixth-graders across North Carolina have been prohibited from attending school until their vaccinations are updated.

A state law that went into effect in January requires that sixth-graders provide immunization records showing they have had the tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis, or Tdap, booster within 30 days of the start of school.

If not, they face suspension. The suspension, however, is not a disciplinary measure.

Most districts had deadlines throughout this week and began suspending students Wednesday.

Wake and Cumberland county school districts had about 100 students each still without the vaccine after the deadline had passed.

Wake schools, however, are allowing students with proof of scheduled immunizations to attend school, as long as their appointment is on or before Oct. 24, schools spokesman Greg Thomas said.

In Johnston County, schools spokeswoman Terry Sessoms said that no students had been suspended, but that didn't mean every student had the vaccine. She could not provide an exact number who were non-compliant.

Eighty students in Chatham County schools have yet to get the shot, Beth McCallah, schools spokeswoman, said. They have until Oct. 6 to get the vaccine or they will not be allowed to attend classes.

The deadline for Durham County students is Monday. Schools spokesman Michael Yarborough said nurses would be on site at middle schools Monday to vaccinate students who have a parent's permission.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the booster after North Carolina saw an increase in whooping cough.