Thousands of Philly students may be barred from school for failing to get vaccinated

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — More than 3,000 School District of Philadelphia students may be barred from their classrooms if they fail to deliver proof that they have received all of their state-required shots.

Karyn Lynch, chief of student support services for the district, said the number of students who hadn't received all of their required vaccines was considerably higher — 26,000 — in August, when officials began an audit. 

“These are in all age ranges and grades,” she noted, “and these are children who are missing one or more of seven vaccines that they are required to receive.”

Fortunately, she said, they managed to whittle the number down, thanks to cooperation from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

“We were able to match the data that the health department maintains through their immunization records with our own records, and in that way increase the number of compliant children that we have attending our schools,” Lynch said.

The school district will visit families on the list or reach out to them with phone calls in the coming days to stress the importance of completing the immunizations.

“We are urging all of our families to submit any documentation that they have that demonstrates that their child has become fully immunized,” Lynch said. “We are urging parents, if their child is missing any of the vaccines that are essential, that they contact their physician or the health department.”

She said the district doesn't want to prevent students from coming to school, but it is compelled to do so, starting Monday, if families don't follow state law.

“If they don't have documentation to demonstrate that they are fully immunized, or if they have not sought an exemption and/or they are not provisional, then the policies of our school district say that they are unable to attend school,” she continued.