I-Team- Immunizations Concerns

HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) A controversy is unfolding in a Luzerne County school district concerning proof of student immunizations. That waiver is aimed at students transferring into the district from hurricane-ravaged areas of the world. Parents caught wind of the loophole and reached out to our I-Team to look into the matter. Eyewitness News Lead I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick has the story.

The state- ordered waiver  gives students up to 90 days to provide proof to the district that they were immunized but some parents fear that their children will be placed at risk of contracting illnesses like measles during that waiver period..

Parents line the streets of Freeland Friday to watch their children in the annual Halloween parade. its always a fun time..but some of the the talk among these parents involve immunizations..

Shane Balliet  is concerned "It makes me a little nervous because all of our children were vaccinated."

And all of and all of these parents had to provide proof of those immunizations to the Hazleton Area School District within five days of entering school . without the paper work, the kids can't attend classes.

But a recent order issued by the Pennsylvania Health Department to all school districts is giving students transferring from hurricane ravaged areas like Puerto Rico or Texas. Up to 90 days to provide those records.

"We're not permitted to ask for any paperwork at this point. There is a 90 days window children and parents to get immunizations completed." Said Brian Uplinger, Superintendent.

Under state law all students must received immunization for disease such as measles, mumps , and polio. They must provide documentation of those immunization to district officials

Uplinger says he understands why parents are concerned..but "We are not seeing any issues that are coming out of any of the students that are coming into the district."

The I-Team spoke to pediatrician Dr. Robert Childs, he says the risk to students already in the district is minimal as long as they are vaccinated.

"The immunizations that parents get their children are very very effective to the point that 96 to 98 percent protection against exposure. Parents and children have very little if anything to worry about at all."

But some parents like Laura Carsia says its a risk her two kids should not have to face. She insists that proof of immunizations should be shown much sooner than 90 days.

"Well I think if it's a requirement that all kids have them then everyone should not just a select few.

Again, this temporary waiver has been sent to all school districts in the state. Eyewitness News reached out to the state health department for comment, we did not hear back from them yet.


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