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Grace Period for School Immunizations Extended by Two Weeks

Families were given an eight-month period from the beginning of the school year to make sure their children are fully vaccinated. But enough students were not in compliance that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has extended the deadline by two weeks.

"Two weeks depends on the school district. It's eight months from the start date of school," said Department of Health Spokeswoman Christine Cronkright. "In some school districts, that day is coming today; some, it's tomorrow; it depends on when that school district began school."

For most areas, that new deadline is sometime this week. If a child does not get up-to-date vaccinations by the deadline, consequences will vary.

"Enforcement is up to the individual school district. Some are going to be excluding students from school, some are going to be allowing some additional time if students have appointments on the books and just couldn't get in on time, it really depends on the district," said Cronkright.

For those who are against vaccination for any reason, there are exemptions. Cronkright said families can ask for exemption for medical reasons, verified by a health care professional, on religious grounds, or on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief.

For families worried about cost, there are options through state health centers, which can be found by calling 1-877-PA HEALTH.