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Vaccine Shortage Could Leave Students At Risk

SPRINGFIELD - A vaccine kids are required to get could be hard to find.

SPRINGFIELD - A vaccine kids are required to get could be hard to find.

There's a shortage of the T-dap vaccine.  "It's very concerning" says Tracey Hill, a mother whose son has still not received his shot.  "Without vaccinations, it's easy to catch germs, and you know, icky things and they'll get sick throughout the school year."

The T-dap vaccine is required for students in grades 6-12.  It protects them against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

"It could be kind of scary from time to time."

The shortage is forcing the School Board of Education to create an exemption.  It will let students stay in school without the shot, until they can get one.  Schools will not be sanctioned as long as a student's health care records include a statement from their health care provider stating why they were not vaccinated.

Typically, students need the shot by the middle of October.  School districts say this shortage is likely just temporary.  Jessica Gonko, a school nurse for District 186, says she's been assured it will not last forever.

"They will get more doses of the vaccination, so we can immunize those that it's a requirement for" says Gonko.

The state isn't sure when more T-dap vaccines will become available.  It'll be up to schools to make sure students get the shot, but if your child misses an appointment to get it, they will not be in compliance.

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