Schools Swamped by Students with No Whooping Cough Vaccination

It's been a rocky start to the school year for thousands of students at several LAUSD year round schools. Many of them were not in compliance with a new state law that just went into effect, requiring all students in grades 7-12 to show proof that they had gotten the whooping cough vaccine.

Huntington Park High School senior Jaime Perez said he came to school ready to start his senior year, only to be turned away yesterday when he didn’t have proof that he had gotten a whooping cough vaccine.

“I lost two days of school already… my mom works, so she wasn’t able to take me in time,” Perez said.

Many other students were unprepared as well.   In fact, 80% of the students at the school did not get their vaccine shots.   Principal Lupe Hernandez says administrators have been working around the clock to process the approvals, and to refer parents to places where they can get the shots for their kids.

“We have been here from six o’clock in the morning, to ten o’clock at night since Friday. So we’ve had parents here as late as 6:45 p.m. on July 4th, bringing in their documentation,: she said.

It has made for a challenging start for the new school year.

Perez said his mom tried to take him to the doctor to get the shot, but the doctor had run out of the vaccine. 

The district pulled nurses off their vacations so they could go to the schools to vaccinate kids. Right now they are giving a few hundred shots a day, but it’s not enough to vaccinate all the kids who need them. The district has eight thousand more shots ordered. Until those vaccines get there, the schools have given students a reprieve and let them go to school, if they have a consent form signed by their parents by Friday.

Some parents say they were caught off guard, but school district officials say they have been calling parents by phone since March to prepare them.

This is just a taste of what may happen on a much bigger scale in the fall, when the traditional school year starts, and tens of thousands of other students will need to show proof that they got the vaccine.

School officials are urging parents to get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid the rush which is already starting.

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