WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Some Tippecanoe School Corporation students won't be getting all of their immunizations shots, for religious reasons.
State law requires all high school students to have certain immunization shots, but some parents have signed a waiver form stating their teen won't be getting those vaccinations for religious reasons.
Head nurse Martina Thompson said this year, more students have turned in the religious exemption form than ever before.
"We did get some additional waivers signed this year," Thompson said. "I think before this year, we had maybe three at Harrison. It was much smaller. It has gone up a lot."
Thompson said there are about ten high schoolers at Harrison and between 12 to 15 at McCutcheon who signed the religious exemption waiver. Even without up-to-date shot records, those students are still able to attend school. She said the district doesn't advertise this as an option.
"If your religion truly does not allow you to take those shots, then you probably know about the religious exemption," she said. "We have had several parents say in the past 'If it is going to be that much of a hassle, I'm just going to sign a religious exemption form instead of getting the shots."
Thompson said those students who signed the waiver wouldn't be able to come to school should there be an outbreak of an illness they don't have a vaccine for.
"If for example, we have an outbreak of Pertussis in the school, which actually, three cases would be considered an outbreak, we would have to exclude any students not immunized for Pertussis from that school," Thompson said.
One of the new vaccines students had to have this year was for Pertussis, which is more commonly called whooping cough. With more than 700 cases of it reported in Indiana over the past few weeks, Thompson wouldn't be surprised if a student in the district got the disease.
"Chances of there being an outbreak here in the near future are fairly good," she said.
72 students have been turned away from McCutcheon and Harrison High Schools this week for not having up to date immunization shots.
Thompson said 10 out of the 72 high schoolers who were excluded from school yesterday have already gotten vaccinated and returned to class.
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