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Carroll County schools officials are still waiting on immunization records for two students, but say they are pleased with the rate of compliance with new state-mandated vaccination requirements.

In Maryland, students must show proof of immunization by the 20th calendar day after school begins, which was Sept. 13 in Carroll. Out of roughly 26,000 students enrolled in the county's public schools, immunization paperwork had been turned in for all but two as of Monday.

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This school year, kindergartners are required to receive two doses of the varicella vaccine for chicken pox, an additional dose from last year. Seventh-graders are also required to have MCV4, or meningococcal, vaccine for meningitis and the Tdap vaccine, which combats tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.

School officials say they had been nervous about students meeting all of the updated vaccination requirements.

"A week before school started, we got emails from nurses who were very concerned because they had hundreds of students who had not turned in vaccination records," Filipa Gomes, the school system's supervisor of health services, said.

Under Maryland law, students who did not have their immunization paperwork on the first day of school needed to be able to show documentation they had appointments within the 20-day grace period, or be turned away from school, Gomes said.

Many parents turned in their children's immunization records weeks before school started, Gomes said, but there were hundreds who had not.

"There was really no problem with the kindergarten students because most are new to school and their parents are making sure they have everything they need," she said. "But the seventh-graders who have been with us for a while posed some problems."

Gomes asked principals and school nurses to pull the records of students who had not turned in updated immunization records and send out automated phone calls to their families.

She also coordinated with the Carroll County Health Department to allow students to use a clinic date during the first week of classes to receive free vaccinations.

"We got the health department to let us use the Aug. 27 clinic date for vaccinations, so we didn't have to send students home; I think that was helpful," Gomes said.

As of Friday, there were seven students who had not turned in their updated vaccination records. By the end of the school day on Monday, there were only two students in the 26,000-student school district who had not turned in records.

According to Gomes, one family is having problems obtaining records from the student's pediatrician and the other student was absent Monday.

The Anne Arundel Public School System, which had about 1,000 students who had not turned in vaccination records as of Friday, is requesting a 45-day extension of the immunization deadline, according to the Associated Press.

Carroll County Public Schools will not be requesting an extension, as the number of students who did not turn in records does not meet the 250-student threshold, Gomes said.

Excluding the two students who had not turned in records as of Monday afternoon, school officials will also be waiting on records from another handful of students who fall under special regulations giving students an additional 10 days to turn in records: homeless students and students who are from military families.

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There are also a few students who are exempt from vaccination requirements because of personal or religious beliefs or medical reasons, Gomes said. Those students, however, make up a small population of the school district, she said.

Reach staff writer Krishana Davis at 410-857-7862 or krishana.davis@carrollcountytimes.com.

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