Record number of students missing shots - WSMV News 4

Record number of students missing shots

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A record number of Metro school students did not get their shots in time for the first day of school.  For the first time ever, the Metro Health Department had to continue its last-minute immunization clinic into the third week of school.  Monday, health nurses gave shots to 308 students.

Tuesday, schools were sending home students who didn't have proof of their immunizations.

A lot of parents like Wendy Cooper got calls from the office.

"I thought we were good on all his shots, then up popped this  chicken pox shot for the second time," said Wendy Cooper, whose son Austin, was sent home from Dupont Hadley Middle School.

One problem is that some parents of seventh graders didn't know the rules changed last year; incoming middle schoolers now need a second chicken pox shot, plus  shots for  tetanus, diphtheria and whopping cough. 

"A lot of parents didn't realize they have to show proof they're in compliance with the new rules," said Chris Taylor, the director of community health for the Metro Health Department.

There's another barrier to making sure all kids are immunized: language.  At some Metro schools, 22 different languages are spoken.

 Two  Burmese brothers were sent home Tuesday. The volunteer from Catholic Charities who's helping them  get their shots said non-English speaking families don't always understand the instructions about immunizations.

"It's kind of a problem if you don't speak Spanish or English," said Abdihadir Ali.

The reminder calls that went out to families were only in Spanish or English,   although some written information was sent out in other languages.   The health department says next year, they'll try to get the word out earlier.

They also want parents to remember to bring their children's shot records with them, so the nurses will know what shots the children have already had.

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