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Parents with Children at Santa Monica Child Care Center Closed Due to Measles Trickling Back

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

February 11, 2015 -- Families with infants and toddlers are trickling back to the child-care center at Santa Monica High School that was abruptly closed early last week after a baby there was confirmed with a case of measles.

The Samohi Infant/Toddler Center was reopened Friday. However, staff and families returning are required to have documentation providing immunity to measles, according to officials from the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD).

That is either a blood test or proof of two MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) immunizations, they said.

“More and more kids are starting to come back,” Gail Pinsker, a spokesperson for the district, said of the reopening of the child-care center, which caters primarily to staff.
Seven of 12 youngsters at the center have been allowed back so far, Pinsker said.

Meanwhile, 14 infants there who are too young for the vaccination remain at home and cannot return until February 20, Pinsker said. That would put them past the 21-day incubation period for measles, she said.

Measles can be a particular problem for infants because the first MMR shot is not administered until the child is 12 to 15 months of age. The second shot comes at 4 to 6 years of age.

SMMUSD officials closed the center February 2, after the first case was confirmed and parents notified in late January. One other case of measles in Santa Monica involved a freshman baseball coach.

So far, the California Department of Public Health has confirmed 107 cases of measles in the state, 39 of them linked to the first cases at Disneyland in December.

The outbreak has prompted a wide variety of medical authorities to urge parents to get their children vaccinated, as well as state lawmakers to propose legislation that would make it harder for parents to obtain “personal belief” waivers.

Such waivers allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children.

Experts have said a minimum vaccination rate of 92 percent is needed to prevent measles outbreaks. But some SMMUSD schools don’t make the cut.
In fact, the percentage of students without vaccinations is about 40 percent at one Santa Monica school, and hovers in the double digits at others.

The schools with the largest number of parents who opted out of vaccinations were in Malibu.

But school district data shows that at the Santa Monica Alternative Schoolhouse (SMASH), 40.3 percent of the kindergarten-through-eighth grade students were not immunized due to personal belief waivers.

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