Schools remind parents about critical vaccination deadline

September 7, 2011 6:41:23 PM PDT
School districts are reminding parents to get their kids vaccinated against whooping cough; the deadline is coming up fast and only applies to 7th through 12th graders. Kids won't be allowed to come to school with the shot.

A parent has 30 days beyond the first day of school to have their kid vaccinated. So if school started on Sept. 1, then the deadline is Sept. 30. Even with all the notices and alerts, some kids have not been vaccinated or have not turned in their certificates and schools are worried.

The health center at James Logan High School in Union City offers Tdap vaccines for only $11. School district officials have been reaching out to parents since last spring when the state ordered every 7th grader and up to be vaccinated against whooping cough.

The New Haven Unified School District has 6,000 students that fall under that category.

"But we still have about 1,200 to go. So 80 percent is a good number, but we still have work to do just in the next couple of weeks before the deadline," said Rick La Plante from New Haven.

Whooping cough is a serious respiratory disease that can cause death among infants. Students know why it's important to get a booster.

"To prevent the spread of diseases and to keep everybody healthy," said student Angel Bonilla.

It's been up to school districts and local health departments to assist parents in getting the vaccine their kids need.

"Shortly thereafter, we started reaching out to the community primarily through automatic phone call in English and Spanish and then letters sent home to the parents in English and Spanish," said La Plante.

The New Haven Unified School District is telling parents if their child is not vaccinated by September 30, he or she will be turned away.

San Francisco's deadline is September 14. School there started earlier. For those San Francisco families who think they can't afford the vaccine, they should know, health care for San Francisco children is free.

"Every child under 18 has access to health care in San Francisco. If your child does not have health care call 311 and they can connect you to enrollment in the Healthy Kids program," said Lisa Hedden from the San Francisco Health Department.

Many pharmacies offer the vaccine, but if you go to your school district's website, you'll be able to find some health clinics that give the vaccine for free or at a much cheaper price.

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