Indianapolis, Ind.—County health officials organized an emergency vaccination clinic inside Zionsville High School on Friday evening, following an outbreak of chicken pox.
Hundreds of students lined up to get shots to both protect themselves from the virus and to comply with a new state law. After finding 11 confirmed cases of Chicken Pox in the school, the Zionsville School District made it clear today that students are not allowed back to class until they have proof of their shots.
Health officials in Boone County call it a perfect storm. Parents across the state have been given until September 20th to comply with the new law requiring vaccines, but in Zionsville the outbreak meant they couldn't wait to take action.
For three hours on a Friday evening, students and some of their parents lined up inside Zionsville High School with an ultimatem: get vaccinated or stay home from school next week and activities this weekend.
"They told us at the end of school," said Jake Bryant, a Zionsville junior. "And then right after school I got a call from my mother."
Jake Bryant's mom Marissa Bryant made the trip with him to the school to make sure he got the three shots he was missing. The school reminded parents of the new state law requiring the shots several times this year. Marissa admits she did get those messages.
"Yes. But I don't think you really think there's going to be an outbreak of Chicken Pox," Marissa said.
It's true the outbreak of 11 confirmed cases of Chicken Pox found in the school spurred the clinic. The grace period for parents across the state is up on September 20th, outbreak or not.
"It's a wake up call for a lot of people around Indiana who have children in school, both in Kindergarten and grades 6-12, that the state board of health is serious about this," said Scott Robison, Zionsville Superintendent. "And they should be because we don't want this disease outbreak."
There are 500-600 students who were lacking vaccinations, or proof of vaccinations, before the clinic on Friday. Marrissa says she knew about the state law, but wasn't in a rush.
"I feel a little iffy about getting the children vaccinated unless you absolutely have to," she said.
"It's a state law," said Dr. Herschell Servies M.D., Boone County Health Officer. "If they want them to go to school in Indiana they're going to have to comply with this mandate."
In this case Jake and Marissa say they're just glad in this case they made it easy to comply.
"These guys have taken their evening to help us out so we appreciate that," Marissa said.
"It wasn't as bad as you thought it'd be," Jake said.
Though the deadline for that state vaccination law is September 20th, sources tell Fox59 the state health department will leave enforcement up to each individual school district, so it's unclear how the deadline will be enforced.