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School issues 3,000 vaccine notices

Up to 1,000 students still not compliant with new law
By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer
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On Sept. 30, the Folsom Cordova Unified School District sent out nearly 3,000 notices to parents explaining their child was out of compliance with the new California immunization law. The letter explained “all students in grades 7 through 12 must show proof of an adolescent whooping cough booster shot (called Tdap) given on or after the seventh birthday in order to attend school.” Parents and guardians can also request a medical waiver, which is submitted in writing from the child’s doctor, or a personal beliefs waiver if the immunization is against personal beliefs. All records are due to the school no later than Friday, Oct. 14, said Stephen Nichols, district public information and community relations. Students without proof of the Tdap booster will be sent home and not allowed to return to school until proof of the booster is provided to the school, Nichols said. “The problem with this requirement is it has created a requirement to go to school,” Nichols said. He said previously the district has been lenient with students, only making the immunization a suggestion. Now, he said students who have not received the shot will be excluded from school. “Our goal is to spread the word and not deny any student education,” he said. “It’s very important to us that we don’t deny students.” Nichols said in past weeks after the notice was sent out, close to two-thirds of district students have turned in their immunization records. Still, there are about 1,000 students who have not submitted the forms. “The law is only responsible for grades 7 to 12, so this is a secondary school issue,” Nichols said. “Parents and students need to get this done because we have to be in compliance of the law. If they don’t get the shot, they can not come to school. We are very serious about protecting our other students from being ill.” While Nichols said students need to have this completed by Friday, a last minute option will be available for students at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at Cordova High School. “There will be a free clinic to give the immunization shot to students,” he said. “We will serve as many students as we can serve.” Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is highly contagious and is spread by inhalation of respiratory droplets or aerosols, according to state health officials.