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Vaccine Deadline Looms
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Mandated vaccination against whooping cough for all school children of seventh through 12th grade has been hitting the headlines recently, especially as some schools have failed to meet the state-ordered deadline and a few have been required to send their unvaccinated children home.

A couple of weeks ago there were still 90 students at Riverbank High School and another 40 at Cardozo Middle School who needed the shots, according to a school district official, who added they were trying to set up another clinic locally to administer the shots.

"We have provided four clinics in the past. We are considering going to the point of exclusion," District Nurse Heather Grossman commented midway through last week, though she could not be reached for updated figures on Monday.

In recent weeks, a San Francisco school district sent 2,000 students home because they had not been vaccinated. Elk Grove Unified informed 200 students they would be barred from class unless they furnished paperwork they'd undergone the shots. The number without shots dropped to 140 by Thursday.

Whooping cough, so named for its trademark cough, is a highly contagious disease that reached epidemic proportions in California last year and forced state action this year. The violent coughing fits can last up to 10 weeks, be fatal especially to infants and kill about 300,000 people worldwide each year, according to the US based Center for Disease Control.

California schools were ordered to get the 7-through-12 students vaccinated within 30 days of their opening for the 2011-2012 school year.