Schools scramble to get students vaccinated

September 30, 2011 8:07:42 PM PDT
A deadline is looming for Bay Area students who still have not gotten the whooping cough vaccine. In Oakland, 1,300 students were still not vaccinated as of Friday morning. They will not be allowed in school on Monday if they don't get the shots.

Even with the last minute push by the district, the fact is hundreds of Oakland students will not be allowed into class Monday morning. And according to the California Department of Education, districts will lose crucial funding for those students not in school.

With deadline day upon them, nurses and staff in Oakland schools were working hard to get all their students the state-mandated whooping cough vaccine. That included send a team of nurses from school to school, administering last-minute shots.

About 1,300 of Oakland's 12,000 7th-12th graders still need to get the vaccine, or present a waiver from their parents exempting them from it. The waivers are granted for religious or medical reasons only.

Skyline High School senior Quailyn Scott came into the on-site clinic only after his girlfriend heard an announcement about the vaccine over the school's pa system.

"My girlfriend kind of dragged me over here, yeah, it wasn't an option, I tried to run but she grabbed my belt, so that was the end of that story," Scott said.

Scott is 18 years old, so he could give his own consent. But for some of the younger students at Skyline, the hang-up seems to be in the home, where parents haven't signed or sent in the required paperwork with their student.

Dr. Joanna Locke is the health director for the Oakland Unified School District. Any student who has not either received the vaccine or presented a valid waiver will be turned away Monday morning.

"We obviously intend to comply with state law so those students who have not been vaccinated cannot attend classes," Locke said.

Oakland schools will be running shot clinics through next week to get those students who missed the deadline back into class.


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