City clinics help schoolchildren catch up on shots

September 09, 1995|By Jean Thompson | Jean Thompson,Sun Staff Writer

With clinics open today at school headquarters and next week around the city, Baltimore health and education officials predict that they can whittle to a few hundred the number of students barred from classes because they lack immunizations.

"We are estimating the number of students who have not had their immunizations now comes to about 2,200 to 2,300," Dr. Peter Beilenson, the city health commissioner, said yesterday.

Several school system employees have been called to work today to enter records from area immunization clinics into the school system's computer, said Dr. Mary Nicholsonne, the associate superintendent for instruction.

Teachers and principals notified an estimated 8,500 returning students Wednesday that they would not be permitted to attend classes until they provided proof that they were protected against measles, mumps, diphtheria and other communicable diseases. The notices came at the end of an eight-month campaign that began when school officials found nearly 40,000 of last year's students had not submitted proof of immunizations.

"By next week, there should only be a couple hundred left," Dr. Beilenson said yesterday.

An additional 13,000 students who were new to the school system Wednesday or newly eligible for immunizations have been warned to get shots and submit proof by Sept. 26 or also be excluded from classes.

By late yesterday, the third day of classes, school attendance had inched up as the number of missing immunizations declined and transferring students settled in to new schools, spokesman Nat Harrington said yesterday. With a projected 1995-1996 enrollment of 114,247, first-day attendance was about 84 percent and Thursday's was about 87 percent, he said.

Some students missed no more than a few hours of school as their parents shuttled them to the nearest clinic, Superintendent Walter G. Amprey said.

More than 1,500 children received shots at school headquarters and 16 health clinics in city schools, school and health officials said. By week's end, other parents had found missing documents at home or obtained copies from their doctors.

"It is the parents' primary responsibility to ensure that their children are properly immunized," Dr. Nicholsonne said.

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