More Students Sent Home From School For Immunizations
By Mark Bellinger
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - More students and parents are learning the Metro school district is serious about immunization. Hundreds of 7th graders have not produced immunization certificates, and some were sent home Monday.
A recent law requires 7th graders get two extra booster shots. The Metro Health Department has stepped in with a fast track clinic, and it was busy Monday at the Lentz Health Center in West Nashville.
"It's been steady since 6:30 this morning and of course we'll be open until 6 this evening," Metro Health Department Spokesman Brian Todd said.
Nurses and health professionals gave immunization shots to dozens of families. Several students including Terrence Jones said they were sent home from school.
"We had to call our parents to take us home because we didn't have our shot records or our shots," said Jones.
A new law requires 7th graders be immunized with two booster shots.
"They need to have a booster for varicella which most people know as chicken pox and a tetanus booster which also includes diphtheria and pertussis," Todd said.
They can't attend public schools without the shots. Metro sent letters to parents last week warning them they have five days to produce a certificate of immunization or risk their child being sent home.
Some parents apparently didn't take the threat seriously.
"My mom sent me to school today, but she didn't think it was a big deal, but you can see how the schools are treating us now. We need our shots," added Jones.
The shots are free and some parents took advantage of the opportunity to update their child's entire shot record. In some cases nurses poked kids up to five times.
Aimie Gotshall and her daughter, Sydney, recently moved to Nashville from Indiana. They claimed not to know about the new requirements, and like most families they had to wait in line.
"We've been here an hour and a half I guess," Gotshall said.
Monday afternoon Metro School officials said nearly 1,400 children came to school Monday not in compliance with the new rules.
Health officials expect to stay busy the rest of the week.
The schools sent letters to parents out at different times. The very last letters went out Friday.
The Metro Health Department will have another Fast Track Clinic on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Lentz Public Health Center.