Mom, School Dispute Over Timing For Vaccine Shots

Sep 7, 2018, 6:57 AM | Updated: 12:33 pm

SPANISH FORK, Utah – A Utah County mother said she felt blindsided when the school nurse said her son could no longer attend school because his immunizations weren’t up to date. The vaccine shots were done, just four days too early.

Amy Rasmussen is pro-vaccine. She was not part of Utah’s anti-vaccine hotspot, making efforts to skip shots altogether.

She said she never misses a well-check or immunization appointment for her children.

Rasmussen was surprised when the school nurse at American Leadership Academy, a charter school in Spanish Fork, said one of her children wasn’t properly immunized.

“We have worked really hard to make sure our children are protected, safe and able to go to school,” the mother of four said. “The school nurse said my son received his MMR shot four days too early. It was out of the window of acceptance.”

First grader Beckett had his first measles, mumps and rubella booster when he was 12 months old. At age 4, before kindergarten, he had his second MMR shot.

Four days too early

The Utah Department of Health will not recognize Beckett’s second MMR immunization.

Tracking documents show Beckett was given a flu mist vaccine within the same month as that MMR shot, in 2015.

“Research shows a patient must wait 28 days after a live virus immunization in order to get maximum immunity,” said Rich Lakin, Immunization Program Manager at the Utah State Health Department. “Because the MMR was given 24 days after the flu-mist, the MMR, by definition, becomes invalid.”

American Leadership Academy officials delivered the message – Beckett received one of the vaccine shots four days too early.

“How am I just finding out about this in his second year of public school?” Rasmussen asked. “School officials told me he needed another MMR shot. But I don’t feel comfortable having him get it a third time.”

Rasmussen chose against a third MMR immunization. In order for Beckett to be allowed to attend school, she needed to complete the Vaccine Exemption Training Course.

“I am agreeing to something I disagree with, and I am being forced to do that,” Rasmussen said. “I had to take the course, which says I acknowledge the risks of not vaccinating my child … But he’s been vaccinated for years. I wrote on the certification in a bright pink marker ‘he is vaccinated – fully immunized’ but they can put that in their chart anyway.”

Rasmussen received a voicemail at the end of the school year last year indicating there may be a problem with Beckett’s immunization chart. Summer went by and she didn’t hear anything. Rasmussen said a letter threatening dismissal from the school came earlier this week.

Timing determined by Utah law

Lakin told KSL the 28-day waiting period for vaccine shots is a state statute. Lakin also said high turnover in doctors offices furthers the issue.

“Physician offices are not required to enter vaccines given to patients to the State Health Registry,” Lakin said. “If every physicians’ office would report, we could flag these instances sooner.”

Terri Watkins, a retired chief nursing officer, worked in the medical field for 42 years.

“The health department needs a review board for these cases,” Watkins said. “Mistakes are happening. A nurse will finally be settled in a place where she understands what she’s doing … and then she goes. It seems the training can’t keep up with the turnover.”

Rasmussen was frustrated because she found zero resources when she looked for information about the 28-day waiting period.

Here are the four live virus vaccines that, if overlapped in a 28 day period, are marked as unsuccessful and invalid.

  • Flu Mist
  • MMR
  • MMRV (MMR safely combined with Varicella in one vaccine)
  • Varicella alone (Chicken Pox Vaccine)

“The body cannot absorb two live viruses in one month while providing full coverage protection from a future infection,” Lakin said.

Rasmussen shoped her story brings better communication to parents and medical professionals about vaccine shots.

“To not have a middle ground was hard,” Rasmussen said. “If Beckett could’ve just been charted as a boy who was vaccinated outside at the designated time window, that would’ve been fine. Having to declare that he is not properly vaccinated, stings.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


The new Utah State Prison is pictured in Salt Lake City on Oct. 21, 2021. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret N...
Madison Swenson

Utah Dept. of Health and Human Services to take over health care in state’s prison system

The Utah Department of Corrections announced Friday that health care in the state's prison system will be controlled by the Department of Health and Human Services beginning July 1, 2023.
18 hours ago
One of Utah's largest health systems, MountainStar Healthcare, announced on Thursday it is adding m...
Emily Ashcraft,

MountainStar Healthcare announces new Utah facilities, spreading care to more communities

One of Utah's largest health systems, MountainStar Healthcare, announced Thursday that it is adding more Utah facilities to its network, working toward a goal to bring affordable care to more families in Utah.
2 days ago
A woman is pushing a patient bed through a hospital hallway....
Deidre McPhillips, CNN

Hospitals in the US are the fullest they’ve been throughout the pandemic — but it’s not just COVID-19

(CNN) — Hospitals are more full than they’ve been throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a CNN analysis of data from the US Department of Health and Human Services. But as respiratory virus season surges across the US, it’s much more than Covid that’s filling beds this year. More than 80% of hospital beds are […]
2 days ago
Ann and Russell Gleave...
Peter Rosen

Losing weight: Setting the wheels in motion

When it comes to shedding pounds, it’s not just about the patient. It’s usually a family affair.
2 days ago
2022 FLU SHOT...
Brenda Goodman, CNN

2022 Flu vaccine appears to be a very good match, CDC says

(CNN) — This year’s flu shot appears to be “a very good match” to the circulating strains, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a news briefing Monday. However, she noted that flu vaccinations are lagging behind the pace of previous years. Through the end of October, CDC data showed […]
4 days ago
Ultraprocessed foods, like burgers and fries, could raise your risk for cognitive decline if it's m...
Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Dementia risk may increase if you’re eating these foods, study says

If more than 20% of your daily calorie intake is ultraprocessed foods, however, you may be raising your risk for cognitive decline, a new study found.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Mom, School Dispute Over Timing For Vaccine Shots