09/26/08 — Students out of school without booster

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Students out of school without booster

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 26, 2008 1:40 PM

Up to 332 sixth-graders in Wayne County Public Schools will not be allowed to return to class until they get a required vaccination.

School officials say they plan to enforce a state law requiring sixth-graders to get a booster dose of Tdap vaccine within 30 days of the start of school.

The mandate went into effect Thursday.

The requirement was announced in April, stating that a booster dose of Tdap -- tetanus/diptheria/pertussis -- applied to three age groups: students entering sixth grade in the fall or who will turn 12 years old on or before August 1, provided five or more years have passed since their last tetanus/diptheria vaccine, and individuals entering college for the first time on or before July 1, if the vaccine had been received within the last 10 years.

The change also impacted the mumps vaccine, with a second dose required before enrolling in school or college for the first time.

Allison Pridgen, director for student support services for the district, called it "disappointing" that with sufficient notice, there are still students who have not gotten the booster shot.

Parent notification letters were sent home prior to the close of the school year, with messages included on report cards as well as press releases and notices posted on the district's website, Mrs. Pridgen said.

"It is our goal to give parents as much notice and opportunity as possible to be in compliance with the new law," she said. "We strongly encourage parents of sixth graders, who have not done so already, to get their child immunized so their child can return to school."

According to information obtained from the district's central office, 12 schools were on the list of those with students who have not had the Tdap immunization. Nor-wayne Middle School had the largest number, with 122 of its 334 sixth-graders, followed by Rosewood Middle with 57 of its 127 sixth-graders and Eastern Wayne Middle with 55 of its 216 sixth-graders.