Missing vaccines leads to missing school for kids in many districts

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By Kendall Downing

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Thousands of students across Indiana face the risk of missing school because they’re missing vaccinations.

These are shots that are being required by the state for the first time this year.

The new requirements led to confusion for parents and a dilemma for many districts.

IPS blames new state requirements targeting Kindergarteners and students entering 12th grade. Estimates at the beginning of September showed about 10 percent of their students were missing record of the shots.

The Marion County Public Health Department tells FOX 59 they’re experiencing increased demand for shots.

“An abnormal year in terms of what kind of shots are required,” said Kristin Cutler, with Indianapolis Public Schools, “Even for families that have had students in school for several years and know the drill, these are two new vaccines that weren’t part of the regulations up until this school year.”

So what’s new? Kindergarteners must have the Hepatitis A vaccine and 12th graders are required to have a meningitis booster shot.

“That means any student that does not currently have up to date shot records can’t come into the building,” said Cutler.

Monday was the cut-off date for IPS. The district printed up notices to send home to parents earlier this month. Cutler estimates the number of students affected now is likely less than the initial figure of 3,000.

She said individual schools are handling the paperwork.

“Each school has their own method of keeping in contact with parents and letting them know,” she said.

If your child needs a shot, you can visit one of the Marion County Public Health Department’s district offices, we’ve provided a link to hours and availability here.

The health department tells FOX 59 it costs $10 per visit. Because of increased demand for vaccines, they ask that parents call ahead, as well as double check shot records to make sure your child actually needs the shot.

Cutler said parents with students in IPS can show proof to an upcoming appointment to their child’s school for clearance.

The district also accepts appropriate religious or medical waivers.

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