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Back-To-School Vaccines A Must For California Kids


California parents are scrambling to check off one important item on the back-to-school list: immunizations.

On a recent Tuesday, Eva Williams took her 11-year old daughter Presley Williams to get her shots. She needed four vaccines before her first day at Natomas Middle School. 

“She’s getting a cocktail today… a cocktail of immunizations,” says Williams.

Natomas Unified School District, like other districts in the region, is offering free vaccine clinics this month.

Some parents are still adjusting to the state’s new vaccine requirement. Parents can no longer file a personal belief exemption and skip shots.

After the law took effect, kindergarten vaccination rates rose from 93 to 96 percent. More California 7th-graders got their shots last year than ever before.

The success comes after heated protest from parents. Many expressed concern about a tie between shots and autism, though that theory has been thoroughly debunked.

Catherine Flores Martin is the director of the California Immunization Coalition. She says even parents who are hesitant about vaccines seem to be getting on board.

“When it came down to it, more parents were concerned and eager to get their children into schools and make sure they get an education than they were concerned about vaccination,” says Flores Martin.

Williams stayed strong for Presley as the nurse prepared that “cocktail” of shots. Still, the whole idea makes her nervous.

“The autism correlation does concern me for the future, but they’re in public school, so you gotta do what you gotta do,” says Williams.

Copyright 2017 Capital Public Radio