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Mother calls vaccination confusion a lesson for other parents

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Mother calls vaccination confusion a lesson for other parents

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED May 2, 2014

North Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A Valley mother said she was shocked and worried after being told her son would need an extra vaccination to register for kindergarten.

Rebecca Payton of North Las Vegas said she wants other parents to learn from her experience.

Like most kids, her son Wesley, age 5, likes to color. And like most kids, Wesley is not a big fan of shots.

"As he's getting older, he's realizing that they do hurt," Rebecca said.

Rebecca said she supports vaccines.

"I just don't believe in over immunizing a five and a half year old," she said.

Rebecca said she tried to register her son for kindergarten at John Tartan Elementary School last month. The school gave her a form saying the boy would first need an extra Hepatitis B vaccine because there wasn't enough time between the first and third dose. Rebecca said she insisted the interval between shots was correct, but got the fourth shot anyway.

"I don't know who's at fault but I just know my five and a half year old son shouldn't have to have another shot he's already had," Rebecca said.

Nevada law requires students to receive up to 17 shots to attend school unless the child receives a religious or medical waiver.

"You trust the doctors that they know when to give the appropriate shot, what time," Rebecca said.

Timing is key. State law is complicated and requires different intervals between doses to make the vaccines effective.

"It can be just as confusing for parents when we're looking at the requirements for certain shots," said Lynn Row, director of health services for the Clark County School District.

Row said staffers initially calculate the intervals by hand, which can be difficult and prone to error. The information is later entered into a computer system to calculate the intervals.

Action News showed Row and the Southern Nevada Health District Wesley's vaccination records.

"They looked ok to me," said Joann Rupiper, community health nurse supervisor for the health district.

Both Row and Rupiper agreed that someone likely made a mistake and, in this case, the fourth shot was not necessary. Rupiper sided with Wesley's doctors: the shot wasn't needed but wouldn't hurt the boy either.

So what should parents do if they find themselves in the same situation?

"Either contact someone else at the school, the school nurse, or the nurses all have supervisors as well," Rupiper said.

While she can't undo the shot, Rebecca hopes other parents can learn from her situation.

Row said the situation was a rare and isolated case. The school district is switching to a new computer system in August that will be able to immediately calculate the interval between doses and let parents know if they are in compliance, Row said.

Both Row and Rupiper said parents should ask for a second opinion if they feel like the shots are timed correctly. You can call the district's health services office or the health district. Both will review vaccination records and call the school, if necessary.

More on immunization requirements from CCSD by clicking here.

Michael Lopardi

Michael Lopardi

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Michael Lopardi is the featured reporter of the You Ask. We Investigate. franchise at Action News.