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Thousands of Students Lack Shots

January 25, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — School officials in the nation's capital expect to send thousands of students home today to force compliance with a District of Columbia immunization law.

"We're just begging the parents to do what needs to be done," School Board President Peggy Cooper Cafritz said Thursday.

At 143 schools across the city, administrators were instructed to compile lists of students who could not provide complete vaccination records.

Principals plan to call parents of those children and send them home with 10 days' worth of course work and a list of locations where shots can be obtained free of charge.

"We are starting with the children because many of the health problems in the district are absolutely preventable," Cafritz said.

Local ordinances require that students be properly immunized against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, haemophilus influenza, hepatitis B, pneumococcal pneumonia and chickenpox.

School officials began the push for immunization at the beginning of the current school year after determining that shot records dating to 1993 were missing or incomplete for more than two-thirds of the 69,000 students enrolled in city schools.

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