University of Pittsburgh
May 14, 2001

GREATER PITTSBURGH MEASLES IMMUNIZATION TASK FORCE REACHES SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION, WITH 99 PERCENT OF PITTSBURGH PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS IN COMPLIANCE More than 15,000 at-risk students aided in county

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, May 15 --In little more than a month, the "Booster Booster" campaign organized by the Greater Pittsburgh Measles Immunization Task Force has helped provide documentation or immunizations for 96 percent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools students who were not in compliance with state regulations regarding their second measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR2) vaccinations.

In early April, 11,287 students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools had been identified as at risk for suspension for not providing documentation of their MMR2 vaccinations. As of today, all but 425 of those students either have been vaccinated or provided documentation of vaccination. This means that 99 percent of the 38,800 students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools are now in compliance with the MMR2 state regulations.

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg and Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent John Thompson convened the task force, which included public school, university, and community leaders. Since its inception, the task force worked to establish partnerships with community organizations, the faith-based community, the news media, service clubs, and elected officials to communicate the importance of maintaining up-to-date medical records and ongoing health care for students. Activities sponsored by the group have included telephone campaigns, outreach through area churches and community organizations, a public awareness campaign through the media, and dispensing free measles booster shots at locations throughout the community.

Thompson expressed his appreciation to all who were involved. "We at the Pittsburgh Public Schools are extremely grateful for the outpouring of community support and assistance which we received during this effort. The joint efforts of all involved have reduced a community-wide concern to one that can now be handled on a case-by-case basis. There is no question that literally thousands of our students were the real beneficiaries of this campaign," Thompson said.

Nordenberg noted that the effort could be a model for future cooperation. "Superintendent Thompson and I are pleased that we were able to form this partnership which has brought together so many segments of the community – corporations, health care institutions, churches, schools, government agencies, and civic organizations – all working together to help the youth of our community. The significant results that have been achieved offer the promise of using partnerships of this sort to address a broad range of issues and opportunities in ways that could benefit everyone in the Pittsburgh region," Nordenberg said.

In addition to the Pittsburgh Schools, thousands of students in other school districts throughout Allegheny County were vaccinated or provided documentation of vaccination. In these districts, the number of students without documentation declined as of last Friday from more than 6,000 to 891.

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