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Pertussis in CA and school exclusion

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
In the back of my mind I was worried about this with the start of the school year fast approaching, and then there was a news report on TV this morning that they are considering school exclusion for non-vax'ed kids in San Francisco. I'm am getting so stressed out about all of this. Dd is supposed to start K next week (not in SF, but we are fairly close by). I will be SO sad if this goes through and our district follows suit and dd is excluded from her first weeks of school

And it seems so unfair to me. It seems like vax'ed kids have a higher chance of being silent carriers in schools and spreading it around to their classmates. If dd is healthy (which I hope she will be), why should she be excluded? Yes, I know this exclusion clause is in the exemption I signed and I knew what I was signing up for in terms of possible exclusion. And nothing is certain at this point. Maybe nothing will happen and everything will be fine.

The whole situation has me completely stressed out--especially all of the nasty comments I've seen posted to online stories about pertussis in CA, and some of them are truly nasty. There is so much venom.

And of course it all seems to be coming to a head just as dd is starting her first ever school year, which she has been really excited about

I'm not really looking for advice or anything. I just can't vent my anxieties to anyone in real like (for fear of ostracism--a realistic fear given current public opinion). So I came here
post #2 of 12
Yeah, it's unfair, I know. It automatically assumes that any unvaxed kid is a disease spreader or the source of an "outbreak," and with pertussis, well, we know that the vaccinated kids are just as likely to be infected and transmitting it.

It also assumes that just because she's unvaccinated, she'll definitely be infected, which is also not true. We just had pertussis here in our house in March. My DH (had a booster in 2002) and DS (unvaxed) were ill with it. I must have had some residual immunity from a natural case of it about 20 years ago...I got a sore throat and dry cough for a couple of days and then nothing. My unvaxed DD, who had two individuals with pertussis hacking all over the house living with her, she never caught it. Can't explain it, but that's what happened.

As for the comments and ostracism, yeah, it's unfortunate. When the media gets a hold of a story and public health officials decide they want to use it to promote their agenda, then facts get left behind in the dust.
post #3 of 12
I wish they would just admit that the vaccine does not prevent transmission.

Excluding unvaxed kids from school would make absolutely no difference in terms of the spread of this disease. In fact since vaxed kids are just as likely to carry the bacteria and spread it as unvaxed kids are, excluding only the unvaxed kids is rather discriminatory
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
The only more or less rational explanation I can come up with about this is that vax'ed kids (in the best case scenario) would have fewer symptoms, meanining less coughing and sneezing. Less coughing and sneezing would mean less chance of spreading the bacteria to others.

But I also believe that a responsible non-vaxer would be more likely to be aware of the symptoms (including the early symptoms) of WC and therefore would make greater efforts to voluntarily keep their kids out of school when their kids seem to be coming down with something, which ultimately is an even more effective way of preventing spread.

The past week or so, for example, my dd has had cold/allergy symptoms and I have been--if anything--overly cautious about keeping her from close contacts with other kids, just in case it turns out to be something more (although it's been about a week and she's not coughing). I think few vaxers would think to do that, because they either haven't read up on early WC symptoms, or they believe they are protected from WC because of the vax. And it is actually the early stage (often mistaken for a common cold or allergies) when the kids are highly contagious.

And that it precisely why they can't stop it from spreading. Not by increasing vaccination rates and not by excluding unvaxed kids from school. So frustrating.
post #5 of 12
I don't think they would have a legal basis for excluding healthy kids who are not vaccinated for pertussis, because, if you look carefully at this form, you will see that pertussis is not actually one of the "required" vaccines.
post #6 of 12
and you know what else also sucks? my friend vaxes her kids, but on a crazy erratic schedule and only gave her daughter the inital 2,4,6 months shots of dtap. now, she is 4 starting school. she wouldnt be excluded, or blamed about transmission becuase she is "immunized". but, we all know that she doesnt have any "immunity" left from those initial shots, and would very likely catch WC if it came in the school. my child, unvaxed, would have the same immunity as her (none) but he would feel the brunt of the outbreak. it really makes me mad and frustrated about how the whole thing is perceived in public. sorry you have to go through this, i hope i never do, it is a big concern of mine. can you request that your child goes to school= or you have no choice?
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
What's funny is this line from the exemption:

I understand that in case of an outbreak of any one of these diseases, the child may be temporarily excluded from attending for his/her protection.
So exclusion is for the safety of the unvax'ed child. Thanks. Total BS.

can you request that your child goes to school= or you have no choice?
As far as I know, once it goes into effect, you have no choice. And the WC exclusion is apparently for three weeks! Can you imagine being forced to keep a healthy child out of school for three weeks?

I don't think they would have a legal basis for excluding healthy kids who are not vaccinated for pertussis, because, if you look carefully at this form, you will see that pertussis is not actually one of the "required" vaccines.
Honestly, who knows what they will try to do? If it came to it, though, I wouldn't fight it. People are really angry here--nonvaxers are being blamed for the outbreak pure and simple. If I were to fight it, I would be setting dd up for ostracism. I'm sure there are parents who wouldn't let their kids play with her just because of her vax status. There has been a lot of misinformation and nonvaxers have been the scapegoat in all of it. So whatever happens, I'm going to do everything I can to protect dd from that.

Although, I've noticed that with the recent salmonella scare, WC has been in the news a lot less. Sometimes it's nice that the media is so fickle Maybe it will all go away quietly....
post #8 of 12
This is so funny...the vast majority of the kids that were dx'ed with pertussis were fully vaxed because the vax DOES NOT PREVENT TRANSMISSION. It reduced the severity of it. I'm not too worried about it. My daughter has been exposed to this on numerous of occasions and has never, ever come down with it. I wonder if a titre could be run on her for it...hmmmmm....

I also think it's funny that unvaxed kids are kept out of school to "protect them". Like, we keep them in a bubble and the only time they are exposed to germs is at school. And by the time these diseases/sicknesses pop up, the children have already been by the affected child during the most contagious stage.
post #9 of 12
Originally Posted by EVC View Post
What's funny is this line from the exemption:

So exclusion is for the safety of the unvax'ed child. Thanks. Total BS.
You could write up a letter "releasing" the school/district/employees from any liability should your child become infected with pertussis, since the vaccine does not prevent infection or transmission your child is not of particular risk; get it notarized (official looking you know) and turn it in should you get notification of exclusion.
post #10 of 12



I am introducing myself on the Mothering Forum today, as the new National Vaccine Information Center's California State Director.  My name is Kim Kovalchik-Ii.  I live in San Ramon, California, with my attorney husband, Jeff, and our son, Ryan. 


Please note there is no need to fret over this new pertussis booster mandate issue.  Your school district, EVC, absolutely cannot exclude your child from school regarding this new pertussis mandate.  The same exemptions which one can use in CA to any other required vaccination, are still applicable with regards to this new mandate.  I personally spoke with former Assemblyman Joseph Arambula's legislative aide, who assured me repeatedly, they did not touch the exemptions regarding this new mandate (Arambula sponsored Bill AB354, which was then legislated into law).  I also spoke with the Nurse Consultant for the California Department of Education and with several key personnel at the California State Public Health Department, who ALL assured me that the exemptions are applicable to this new mandate.


That being said, the only difference with this new Tdap mandate is this:  You MUST sign the new blue waiver philosophical form the CDPH has mailed to every school district, regarding this mandate.  The reason I've been given by the CDPH for this, is because there is no space provided to 'check off' on the older blue waiver form, for this mandate, simply because it's a new mandate.  This requirement will change eventually as I'm sure they'll have a new form with the new Tdap requirement, listed on the form at that point.


Also, contrary to the common myth I see being perpetuated by various websites, well meaning though they may be, California has never had a religious exemption!  However, our philosophical exemption is extremely broad based, so those of you who feel you want to use a 'religious belief' against vaccination, will still have to use the philosophical exemption waiver form.


If I can be of any help to any of you, please feel free to contact me (kim_m_ii@yahoo.com).



post #11 of 12

This is an old thread about possible temporary exclusion from school of unvaccinated kids during a pertussis outbreak. Back in August of 2010 San Francisco was threatening to do that. I don't think they went through with it. http://www.baycitizen.org/health/story/san-francisco-fights-whooping-cough

post #12 of 12

Good to know if they didn't go through with it.

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