After parents and school administrators spent part of their summer making sure student shot records were up to date before the beginning of the new school year, Texas health officials are giving students several more weeks to get newly required immunizations.
The Texas Department of State Health Services issued an emergency rule on Monday, the first day of school for Stephenville Independent School District (SISD), extending the deadline to Oct. 1. Without the extension, students without the required vaccines could have been turned away from schools.
The extension applies only to the shots for meningococcal, tetanus and varicella. Pocket shortages of those vaccines have been reported around the state.
Last spring, health officials added required doses of vaccines, affecting students entering kindergarten and seventh grade.
Health department spokesman Doug McBride says it appears some doctors and clinics didn’t order enough of the vaccines.
Central Elementary Principal Judy Walker said many kindergarten students won’t need the extra time.
“It’s not a problem on our campus. We have not had to turn any away because of the new requirements,” Walker said. “I think the reason was the (shot) clinics.”
Walker added that some students did have incomplete shot records, but many of those included immunizations that have been required before the new changes.
Henderson Junior High nurse Joan Pope said she was “just delighted” over the extended deadline.
• For students still needing immunizations, one more clinic will be held before the October deadline. On Wednesday, Sept. 2, parents can take their student and shot records to the United Cooperative Services building located at the intersection of US Highway 281 and 67. The clinic will be open from 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m.