Parents to comply with new immunization requirement


About 150 sixth-graders and a handful of kindergarten students in the county yesterday had not yet received their second measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) immunization.

However, school officials, who had set Sept. 21 as the immunization deadline for all kindergarten and sixth-grade students, said they expected nearly all of the 150 students will be immunized by the start of the school day today.

"There are a number of students who are not yet in compliance," said school spokeswoman Jane Doyle. "But the numbers are dropping drastically by the minute."

Mrs. Doyle said many parents were either bringing their children in to school late or taking them out early for scheduled appointments with their private physicians.

School officials said students who were not in compliance with the state law would be suspended from school until they bring in proof of immunization. No student had been suspended as of the end of the school day Monday.

The state issued a directive in May that every child in Maryland entering kindergarten or the sixth grade must have two doses of the measles vaccine by the start of this school year. School systems had required only one dose of the vaccine.

The second dose was ordered after the state saw an outbreak of 500 measles cases in the state during the past three years. The state had been recording 50 to 60 cases in a three-year period.

The vaccine against mumps also is being required for the first time. While the vaccine was not previously required, most children received the mumps vaccine as part of the rubella, or MMR vaccination.

The school system and the county's Health Department have been working together throughout the year to notify parents of the change in the state law and to offer immunization to students at health clinics throughout the county.

Clinics in Brooklyn Park, Glen Burnie, Odenton, Parole, Annapolis, and Severna Park immunized about 1,500 students since the beginning of September, said county Health Department spokeswoman Evelyn Stein. And, since the clinic first began offering the free immunizations in late July, Ms. Stein said about 2,500 students had received the MMR vaccination.

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