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Half of 7th graders at Metro Schools haven't shown proof of immunization

(MGN Online)

UPDATE: Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced today that more than 52 percent of MNPS seventh graders have not shown proof of immunization.

“Our first reporting window was yesterday (Aug. 9, 2017) and we have a lot of work to do,” said Dr. Tony R. Majors, executive officer of Student Services. “Today is the official notice date so they have until Wednesday, Aug. 16 to get their immunizations. Beginning Thursday Aug. 17, students will not be allowed to return to school without proof of immunization.”

Latasha Armstrong is a mother of a 7-year-old, MNPS student. While her child is up-to-date on shots, others are not.

Armstrong says, "I believe as a parent you should make it a priority, a high priority...You know for them to be safe in school. You don't know if that child sitting beside him is sick."

Although it is state law,Metro Schools says more than 50 percent of 7th graders don't have the required shots.

Dr. Majors says, "Students entering kindergarten, parents are more understanding that they do have to show proof of immunization. but for our 7th graders I think a lot of our parents wait to the last minute not understanding it is a requirement for attending school."

"The one that's required for 7th grade is the tetanus and whooping cough booster. It helps protect, your child likely who had their last dose when they were entering Kindergarten," says Dr. Larryl Spearmon with Neighborhood Health.

The clinic and others are busy getting kids caught up on their shots before the deadline.

Dr. Spearmon says, "Unfortunately we do get kids who come in after the schools deadline. The parents tell us they walked into the school's office and there were just a line of kids being sent home.

We do have a lot of those folks who come straight from the school to our office. We work them in because we do understand the importance."

Dr. Majors says, "The biggest message for parents is that we don't want students to miss school for any reason. It's really important for them

to be fully immunized. So it's really important this weekend to see their primary care physician or the public

health department and receive those additional two vaccinations."

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Metro Schools said a little over half of its 7th graders have not shown proof of immunization.

Metro Schools said 4,168 students are enrolled in 7th grade, but 2,174 are in non-compliance with immunization requirements.

Officials say this is compromising the health and safety of other students in the district.

“Our first reporting window was yesterday (Aug. 9, 2017) and we have a lot of work to do,” said Dr. Tony R. Majors, executive officer of Student Services. “Today is the official notice date so they have until Wednesday, Aug. 16 to get their immunizations. Beginning Thursday Aug. 17, students will not be allowed to return to school without proof of immunization.”

The law requires parents to provide an updated Tennessee Immunization Certificate with proof of two additional immunizations before entering 7th grade:

  • Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster (“Tdap”): required regardless of Td history (2013 update)
  • Verification of immunity to varicella; (2 doses or history of disease)

Students have until Aug. 16, to turn in proof of immunizations. Students without proof of immunization won't be allowed to go to school starting the next day.

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