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caption: Flu shots are shown on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at Concord International Elementary School in Seattle.
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Flu shots are shown on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at Concord International Elementary School in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle scrambles to vaccinate kids: 2,200 told not to come back without shots

The district is holding free vaccination clinics over winter break to make it easier for parents to get kids their shots.

Seattle is now enforcing a longstanding state law that says students must be barred from school if they lack required vaccinations or exemptions.

In Seattle, 2,200 students received letters saying they can’t return to school January 8 without complete vaccination records.

Seattle and other districts took action after dozens of kids around Washington state measles got measles.

Letters went out to the families of 4 percent of Seattle students saying they have three weeks to get their students in compliance or be barred from school.

Pat Sander, health services chief for Seattle Public Schools, said staff are working overtime.

“We have some staff that are going out over the vacation and making home visits," Sander said. "It's real important for us that students not lose their educational opportunity and their instructional minutes."

By law, Seattle was supposed to exclude students without vaccination records in October, as some other districts have throughout the fall.

It’s been years since Seattle last took that step.

District staff say it’s been hugely challenging to wade through records and figure out who is out of compliance.

The district is holding free vaccination clinics over winter break to make it easier for parents to get kids their shots.