Immu­nization rush on as school days near

Updated shots or waivers needed before classes begin

SAN ANTONIO - The Metropolitan Health District clinics like the one downtown already report seeing parents with children needing updated vaccinations, who are trying to beat the last-minute rush before school starts later this month.  

“If they don’t have the shots needed, they cannot start school,” said Carol Schleisinger, Metro Health spokeswoman.

Otherwise, Schleisinger said those students will be told not to come back until they have the required shots.

Pascual Gonzalez, spokesman for the Northside Independent School District, the city’s largest, said an estimated  5,000 students could turned away Aug. 27, the first day of school.

Of the district’s predicted 100,000 enrollment for the 2012-13 school year, Gonzalez said “only a handful” had filed waivers from getting vaccinations.

Those can be requested from the Texas Department of Health Services for “reasons of conscience,” said Chris Van Deusen, an agency spokesman.

However, Van Deusen said surveys have shown up to 98 percent of kindergarten students in the state are vaccinated, and 97 percent of seventh graders.

But the Northeast School District, San Antonio’s second largest reports seeing a slight increase every year in parents filing waivers, at least 360 so far out of the district’s expected enrollment of 68,000 students.

“It could be just that more people are aware that option is available to them,” said Aubrey Chancellor, NEISD spokeswoman.

For those  needing vaccinations, Metro Health will be among the exhibitors at the Back to School Expo from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the San Antonio Event Center at Marbach & N.W. Loop 410.


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