SEATTLE (CBS) — Thousands of students in Seattle, Washington have until January 8, 2020 to get vaccinated or they will not be allowed to go to school. This comes after Washington state suffered two measles outbreaks this year, one forcing a state of emergency. In 2019, the U.S. has seen nearly 1,300 measles cases from January through November, the most in 27 years.
The Seattle Public Schools district is issuing a New Year’s warning to parents: if your kids aren’t vaccinated, don’t bring them back. “School notified us…something we had to get done,” says Jeremi Oliver, a Seattle parent.
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In December, the school district’s website issued a notice to families saying their kids could not attend school “until the required information is provided to the school nurse,” and students must be vaccinated by January 8, 2020. Tim Robinson, a Seattle Public Schools spokesperson said, “If any students show up on the 8th and they don’t have their records up to date, they’ll be put aside in a room, their parents will be contacted to come and collect the students.”
Seattle Public Schools says roughly 2,000 students still need vaccines. And they’re not alone: measles outbreaks in the U.S. have forced a number of states to take action.
Last December 2018, Rockland County in New York barred unvaccinated children from schools with low vaccination rates. And by June 2019, New York passed a new law that applied to all public and private schools in the state: it eliminated religious exemptions for vaccinations.
The state of Washington was hit hard in 2019, with 87 confirmed cases of measles. In the wake of the outbreaks, Washington state law also banned vaccine exemptions for personal or philosophical reasons for measles, mumps, and rubella.
And now Seattle’s schools are turning into free immunization clinics to help. Janaya Oliver, a 6th grader, said, “She rolled my sleeve up and put alcohol on my arm and I just got a shot.” On December 30 and 31, two Seattle schools will be open for vaccinations.