Clergy asked to join school vaccination drive

Baltimore school officials are appealing to clergy to help spread the message that students have one week left to receive chickenpox and hepatitis B immunizations before they'll be shut out of school.

About 6,500 city students in fifth through ninth grades have not submitted proof that they have received the vaccinations. As of Jan. 22, students will not be allowed back to school without immunization records.


Schools interim Chief Executive Officer Charlene Cooper Boston sent letters to more than 800 clergy this week asking for their assistance. She wrote that students have received a series of phone calls and letters about the new vaccination requirements.

A new state law requires all students through ninth grade to be immunized for chickenpox and hepatitis B.


Some Maryland school systems began shutting students out of school earlier this month if they couldn't prove they had an appointment to get the shots.

As of last week, 19,000 students statewide had yet to prove they'd been vaccinated. That's down from 54,000 in mid-December, according to the Maryland State Department of Education.

Carroll County schools report that all their students now meet the requirements. This week, Harford County still had 2,000 out of compliance, while Howard County was down to 749. As of yesterday, Anne Arundel County had 94.

In Baltimore County, where about 1,700 students were out of compliance yesterday, school officials were making home visits to urge parents to have their children immunized.

City officials have been doing home visits. They were able to get about 24,000 students vaccinated.

Students can receive the vaccinations for free at city health department clinics, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the following days:

Today, Tuesday and Thursday at Eastern Health District Clinic, 620 N. Caroline St.

Wednesday and Saturday, Jan. 20, at Druid Health District, 1414 W. North Druid Hill Ave.


Sun reporters Arin Gencer, Mary Gail Hare, Ruma Kumar and John-John Williams IV contributed to this article.

For the record

An article in the Maryland section Saturday incorrectly reported the starting time and location of clinics where city school system students can get immunizations. Clinics today and Saturday will start at 9:30 a.m. The clinic Saturday at the Druid Health District will be held at 1515 W. North Ave.The Sun regrets the errors.