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Nearly 200 ND public school students without up-to-date vaccines sent home

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FARGO—The message has been clear for months, high school students 16 and older need new shots. Despite that, hundreds of kids across North Dakota are out of school lacking those shots.

Fargo Public Schools reports 18 kids were excluded from class Monday because they aren't up-to-date. West Fargo reported 42 students were held out. 

Bismarck Public School District says 50 students and Grand Forks School District had 79 kids held out of class.

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It's important to note these aren't just high school students, these are district-wide.

Some kids are missing class because they don't have the new meningococcal vaccine, but why is that new requirement so important?

"You can have lifelong effects like neurological damage or loss of limbs. It can be pretty scary if you're exposed," North Dakota Department of Health Epidemiologist Brenton Nesemeier said. 

The new requirement is actually the second dose of a shot that used to be required for college-bound students.

"Now, North Dakota is requiring it for entry into 11th grade or at age 16," Nesemeier said.

Fargo Public Schools says 14 of its 18 students held out on Monday are back in school, either exempt or scheduled for shots.

Regardless, public health professionals say it's important for the health of everyone to be up to date on vaccinations.

Parents can ask for exemptions for moral and religious reasons.

Excluded students typically return to school within three days, according to West Fargo Public Schools.

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