SDUSD Grace Period for Pertussis Vaccination Over

Students who have not been vaccinated or obtained an exemption are not allowed to go to school

By Sarah Grieco
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 10:16 AM PDT
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Parents Face the Big Shot Question

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Children are required to get the whooping cough vaccine in California schools.

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Yesterday was the last day of the 30-day grace period for students to get the whooping cough vaccine in San Diego Unified School District.

A new state law requires 7th through 12th graders to show proof they have received the Tdap booster shot before they attend class. If students within SDUSD could not obtain proof of a personal belief exemption, medical exemption, proof of a future appointment for vaccination or consent form for vaccination they were not allowed to come to school Friday.

But unlike some other school districts in San Diego County, SDUSD allows its students up to 30 days after their first day of school on Sept. 6 to be immunized.

Schools within SDUSD were instructed to send home notes with students who did not have any of the four exclusions, according to Nursing Program Manager Jennifer Gorman. Those students are not allowed to attend class until they receive their Tdap or met one of the exemptions.

SDUSD approached lawmakers in Sacramento to allow the 30 day grace period since it was difficult to reach all the students during vacation. The law was mandated in the middle of summer break on July 1.

“We were looking at having some 30,000 students without the vaccine,” Gorman said.

Controversy has surrounded the vaccination issue as parents have to decide whether or not to immunize their children. Studies have recently revealed booster shots fade after time, and sometimes do not work at all.

A recent case in San Diego aligns with studies that the vaccination can be ineffective. Friday morning a 9-year-old girl in Ramona contracted whooping cough, making her case the 379th in the San Diego region this year, according to San Diego County Health officials. The child was up to date on her immunizations.

Local lawmakers say they will consider tougher requirements for schools that have been defying state law by letting students who cannot prove they have had the whooping cough vaccine remain on campus.

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