SACRAMENTO, CA - Sacramento school officials have sounded the alarm about middle school and high school students getting vaccinations.
A new state law says students in the seventh through 12th grade are required to have TDAP, a booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or whooping cough.
Sacramento City Unified School District Supt. Jonathan P. Raymond said, "We've had all our principals send out messages and letters. We've used Connect-Ed, our 'robo call' system to contact parents."
Raymond explained the district is telling parents not only do their children need to be inoculated, they have to give schools proof that their children received the shot.
"Everything we're doing is designed to let parents know unless you get us this documentation, your child will not be allowed to enroll in school," Raymond said. "We will not make any exceptions."
Health officials are worried because whooping cough reached epidemic proportions in California last year. Doctors reported 8,000 cases. The disease also claimed the lives of 10 infants.
Raymond said 20,000 of the district's 48,000 students are required to have the immunizations.
"We've had five clinics that were free and open to the public where we've vaccinated over 900 students," Raymond said.
However, the district only has immunization records for 19 percent of the students who will need the shots.
This week parents can still fax or hand carry immunization records to Sacramento middle and high schools. Next week the schools will close for summer vacation.
After July 5, parents will have to take those records to the new enrollment center located next to the district's headquarters on 47th Avenue.
Raymond said the center will offer free vaccinations to students on Medi-Cal and those who don't have insurance. Those clinics will be held every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on every first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Raymond said students will be out of luck if they show up on the first day of school next fall without their shots or the school having proof.
"No proof, no enrollment, no school," Raymond said.
By Karen Massie email@example.com