April 7th, 2020
School starts in August for most students in North Carolina, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) health leaders say it’s not too early for parents to start thinking about getting their kids the necessary vaccinations.
Leaders advise parents get the shots now while there is time and clinics aren’t busy.
“Some people have a more relaxed schedule,” CMS School Health Specialist Monica Adamian explained. “They can get out there and go to their doctor’s office or to the health department and get those immunizations now.”
CMS realizes there are some parents who opt out of getting their kids vaccinated. They say no to the shots because of either medical or religious reasons. CMS says 1.7% of kindergartners didn’t get vaccinated because of religious reasons. The school district says there are risks for students who come to class unvaccinated.
“If something happened and there was an outbreak of one of those illnesses,” Adamian said. “In that case those students would be required to be out of school because we wouldn’t want them to be exposed because they are the most susceptible to those illnesses.”
If parents simply don’t get their kids vaccinated for no reason at all, once school starts they have 30 days to get their kids the necessary shots or they will be asked to leave the school.
CMS believes it makes sense for students to get vaccinated.
“If you stay healthy, you are protecting yourself and your family, but you are also protecting all the kids in your classroom,” Adamian said.
Last year, NC Department of Health and Human Services reported there were 120,792 students who started kindergarten throughout the state. Of that number, .1% of students didn’t get the shots because of medical reasons and 1.2% didn’t get the shots for religious reasons.
Some parents admit they wanted to make sure before giving their kids vaccinations.
“There is research out there that suggests there could be some negative consequences,” parent Kenny Smith said. “And as any parent would like to do, we wanted to make sure we had the complete picture.”
Smith says he took his children’s doctor’s advice and had them get the necessary shots.
“They believe it’s in the best interest of your child,” Smith said. “And then second – you are putting other kids at risk.”
CWWCHC will host its annual Back to School Community Health Fair on Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 3333 Wilkinson Boulevard. Immunizations for uninsured/Medicaid families will be provided free of charge. Otherwise, insurance will be billed. Physicals will be offered for $25.