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High number of Palmerton students not vaccinated

Published April 02. 2012 05:02PM

A high number of students yet to receive their vaccination in the Palmerton Area School District remains of concern.

Superintendent Carol Boyce told the TIMES NEWS between 150-175 students in the district have yet to get their health immunizations as required by the state Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Boyce said the district has sent a minimum of five letters to every family, and added the information is available through the district's AlertNow school wide notification system.

"If the children are not immunized by April 30, we have to exclude them from school," Boyce said. "The Department of Health says, and PDE agrees, and further states, they will be unlawful absences."

On top of that, Boyce said the district would be penalized with its share of state subsidy.

There are two possible exemptions, Boyce said: students must have a note or message from their doctor that says why they can't have it for medical reasons; or an objection in writing to the immunization for religious reasons.

In either case, students must present a letter to the superintendent stating their reason. At that point, Boyce said a determination would then be made.

The new school immunization regulations were approved in May of 2010, and became effective Aug. of 2011.

The regulation states that the immunization requirements must be completed within eight months of the date of provisional admission to school. If the requirements are not met, the school administrator may not admit the child to school or permit continued attendance after that eight month provisional period.

To assist with getting students immunized, the Department of Health will be providing immunization clinics during the week of April 9.

To register for an appointment, families may visit, or call 877-PA Health (877) 724-3258 for additional information.

Students will need to be registered by the end of the first week of April. The most recent copy of the student's vaccination history will need to be provided at the time of the appointment.

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