Superintendent: Vaccine law affects hundreds of Oakland students

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Superintendent Antwan Wilson says a last-minute rush to make sure all Oakland Unified students are up to date on vaccinations and in compliance with state law may have kept several hundred out of class on Monday. (KGO-TV)

It was back to school for students in one of the state's biggest school districts. There are 48,000 enrolled in Oakland Unified. But not everyone showed up ready to go on Monday. The new state law requiring students be vaccinated made for a very busy day.

A last-minute rush to make sure all Oakland Unified students are up to date on vaccinations and in compliance with state law may have kept several hundred out of class on Monday.

That's the latest estimate from Superintendent Antwan Wilson, who told us that's a big improvement over recent weeks, when the number was much higher.

"It's not been a situation where we are as concerned as we were two weeks ago when we were looking at over 1,000 students and then last week when we were looking at more than 400 students," he said. "At the same time, we have had some families that need support with vaccinations, so we're doing everything we can to get the information and support they need."

Part of the issue is that the district office staff has struggled to process all the paperwork that has been turned in at the last minute.

Senate Bill 277, which took effect July 1, eliminated California's personal belief and religious exemptions for vaccinations.

Medical exemptions are still allowed but only in certain, very limited circumstances.

"And frankly pediatricians and DOs, doctors of osteopathy, will only be able to sign them if there's a real medical reason the child should not be able to receive a vaccine, so that would be allergy or a problem with the immune system," said Kelley Meade, M.D., with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland.

The district did offer families a grace period of sorts. If they could show they had an appointment or plan to get the vaccines, they were allowed in class Monday.

For more back to school stories, click here.
Related Topics:
educationback to schoolstudentsvaccinespublic schoolhealthOakland
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