Buffalo schools tracking students immunizations

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo School System is reassuring the community that student vaccinations continue to be a top priority.

A measles outbreak out West has some parents there demanding that unvaccinated children be banned from school.

About 15 percent of Buffalo’s student population are refugees. They, along with all students in the district, cannot register for school unless they have immunization records.

DATABASE | Get immunization information on every school in New York State. 

“So they might only have their first series, and then they have to have an appointment card for the rest of their series,” said Assunta Ventresca, the district’s director of Heath Related Services.

With 84 reported cases of measles this month in the U.S., most of them linked to Disneyland in California, there’s a growing concern about the disease spreading across the country, maybe even to Buffalo.

“I’m sure it won’t take long to work its way East,” Lorenzo Gasbarrini, who has grandchildren in the Buffalo school district, said. “For now I’m not worried, but now that you raised the point, I’m going to go home and I’m going to ask my daughter whether her kids are up do date.”

The Buffalo School District is big on prevention and immunization awareness; 97 percent of its students have either gotten their shots or are in the process of getting them.

About one percent of students in the system refuse vaccinations because of religious reasons. Two percent just don’t bother to follow through.

“The nurses are very strong about following immunization monitoring, ” Ventresca said.

While Buffalo parents like Marlando Brannon are not totally comfortable about their children getting vaccinated, they know that’s not enough reason in New York to avoid the shots.

“I guess they have to have them, otherwise they can’t go to school,” Brannon said. “I ran into that type of conflict before.”

Brannon’s 17 year old daughter Jenai feels the same as her father, but she said “I had to get it because I wanted an education.”

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