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Vaccine shortage affecting schools

SPRINGFIELD -- A vaccine kids are required to get could be hard to find. There is a shortage of the T-dap vaccine.
SPRINGFIELD -- A vaccine kids are required to get could be hard to find. There is a shortage of the T-dap vaccine.

Tracey Hill's teenage son still has not gotten his T-dap. Now he is up against a new challenge; scheduling an appointment and getting the vaccine during this shortage.

"It's very concerning. 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," Hill said.

The shortage is forcing the State 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 healthcare records include a statement from their healthcare 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 is a registered nurse for School District 186. She says she has 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."

The state isn't sure when more T-dap vaccines will become available. It will 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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