Deadline extended for some school shots

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Some Texas students were sent to immunization clinics on their first day of school. The lucky ones got newly required vaccinations before the supplies ran out. The others were sent home or isolated from other students. They would still be out of school today, if the state hadn't stepped in to extend the shot deadline.

School nurse Anita Farr's day is far less hectic than the first day of school. "I gave shots until my vaccine ran out. My Tdap (tetanus/diphtheria/acellular pertusis or whooping cough) ran out," Farr said. "And I continued to give the meningitis and chicken pox until the day ended yesterday."

This morning Farr was still giving chicken pox and meningitis vaccines, but had to leave kids unprotected to Tdap. For that she holds the parent's responsible. "They weren't taking care of business.the letters went out. We had publicity on the radio and the TV, so the parents should have been aware of that," Farr expressed.

There are some school districts that could be telling the state today, 'I told you so.' They're the ones that notified state officials that there would be a shortage. "Our shots had not come in. Our tdap had not come in," Ronny Knox, NISD Special Services director explained.  "They were on back order and we asked for an exemption. And as of Friday we were denied the exemption."

By the end of the first day of school the state granted a statewide extension. Clinics and medical offices across the state had exhausted their supplies due to an increased demand. Lufkin, Corrigan and Huntington have extended the immunization deadline, however, Diboll is requiring all students to have their full immunizations now. Check with your own school district to find out what the rules are for your student.

Now school authorities are easing concerns over unvaccinated children being back in the classroom.  "If we have any doubt in our mind we won't allow a student to enroll," said Knox. "Our nurses are very good at screening students for any signs of illness." The vaccines are also considered boosters.

Parents have until September 30 to get their children in compliance. After that bending of the rules is unlikely.

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