July 21, 2008

Vaccine Deadline Near for Students


Guilford County Schools will suspend rising sixth-grade students who do not update their immunizations against three viruses by Aug. 28.

The state Division of Public Health requires some students to receive a booster shot for the tetanus, diptheria and pertussis viruses if they have not had the vaccination since July 2003.

The rule applies to rising sixth-graders in public or private schools, any child who turns 12 on or before Aug. 1, and new college students.

Another rule change requires students to get a second dose of the mumps vaccine before entering school this fall. Parents can update their children's immunizations at their health care providers or for free at the county health department.

District officials have notified parents through the mail and in telephone messages about the booster shots, said Robin Bergeron- Nolan, director of health services.

Typically, students arrive at school without updated immunizations for financial reasons, because they transferred from out of state or because they have medical or religious exemptions, she said. "The majority of our students come to our schools properly immunized," Bergeron-Nolan said.

Health officials changed the vaccination requirements after seeing an increase in the number of cases of mumps and pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.

The state reported 59 cases of whooping cough in 2007 and 39 cases between January and March of this year. The state also reported one case of mumps this year.

Contact Morgan Josey Glover at 373-7078 or [email protected] record.com

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