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Law says sixth-graders must get booster shot by Sept. 23

By Sarah Nagem
snagem@salisburypost.com
Any sixth-grader who doesn’t get an immunization booster by Sept. 23 will be suspended from school, according to a new state law.
Rowan-Salisbury School System leaders are scrambling to encourage parents to get their sixth-graders up to date.
About half of the sixth-graders in the system haven’t gotten the booster, Susan Thomas, head school health nurse, said Tuesday. Those who have not received the booster will be sent home from school starting Sept. 24.
“That’s why we’re panicking,” Thomas said.
A new law says sixth-graders must get a booster dose of the Tdap vaccine if they have not had a booster in the last five years.
The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
The school system is sending out warning letters to parents this week, Thomas said.
Before the summer break, state school officials sent letters to parents about the new law, she said.
Middle school principals would hate to have to suspend students because of this, said Dr. Walter Hart, assistant superintendent of administration.
“That’s the last thing we want to do,” Hart said. “But at the same time, we have to follow the law.”
Children can get the vaccination from their doctors or from the Rowan County Health Department.
The vaccination is free at the health department, but parents must schedule an appointment. To set up a time, call 704-216-8786.

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