NC students risk suspension if shots outdated

RALEIGH, N.C (AP) -- School and health officials across North Carolina are working to get a mandatory vaccine to sixth graders before a deadline suspends unvaccinated students from school.

Schools are scrambling to send letters and leave phone messages warning parents their children must receive one booster dose of tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis, or Tdap.

In many districts, the deadline is Sept. 23.

State health department spokeswoman Amy Caruso said Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the booster after North Carolina saw an increase in pertussis, or whooping cough. The requirement took effective for the 2008-2009 school year.

Some counties are offering free clinics for the shots. Children may also get the shot at their own doctor's office, though a fee may be charged.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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