Families race to get shots for kids so they don't get kicked out of school

Families race to get shots for kids so they don't get kicked out of school

EUGENE, Ore. - A steady stream of families tried to keep their kids from being kicked out of school Tuesday for a lack of vaccinations.

Last year more than 2,000 students in Lane County risked exclusion. In the end, only 92 were not allowed to return to school.

"There's always a rush every year," said Deobrah Johnson, Eugene 4J School District nurse. "Some years when the laws are changed to include new vaccines for new age groups, then there might be a rush because some of those people perhaps have not had their immunizations and then there is that rush to get that new vaccine."

At the North Eugene health clinic, families who recieve health coverage from the state or have no insurance are racing to get their kids vaccinated.

And for families who refuse to vaccinate their children, the process is changing.

On March 1, a new law will make it harder for families to get an exemption.

Parents or guardians seeking a non-religious exemption will either have to have a consulation from a family doctor or take a long form web siminar about the dangers of not vaccinating.

"What that did is that it gives an extra information gathering step for parents," said Jason Davis with Lane County Public Health. "Parents now need to get a full picture about immunizations and that helps them make a more informed decision."

There is still a gray area in the new law however. If a family gets its healthcare from a school doctor at a school clinic, can that doctor actually issue an exemption from school vaccines?

Johsnon said that's a question she hopes to find out the answer to next month when the new rules are released.

"For kindergarten this spring and September, that is when the big push will come regarding exemptions, particularly religious exemptions," she said.