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LI School Bans Third-Grader From Attending Class Over Vaccine Dispute

SOUND BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A young Long Island girl is on an unplanned vacation from school amid a dispute over a vaccination.

Ceili McNicholas, a third-grader in Miller Place School District, told 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera she feels bad about being banned from school for not getting a booster shot.

"Not so good. I'd rather be at school," the 8-year-old said. "I miss my friends."

LI School Bans Third-Grader From Attending Class Over Vaccine Dispute

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported, the state health department -- worried about potential whooping cough outbreaks -- is now requiring any student who didn't complete the tetanus diphtheria pertussis vaccine series by age 6 to get the booster shot or get booted from school.

The controversy worsened when doctors pointed out a conflict between government agencies: The FDA approves the T-Dap booster for ages 10 and over, but the state follows CDC guidelines, which recommends the booster for ages 7 through 10, McLogan reported.

Ceili's mother, Jamie McNicholas, said the family pediatrician and others told her the booster is risky.

"Not one of them said that they felt comfortable giving that vaccine to kids under 10," she said. "I'm not against vaccinating. I am against age-inappropriate vaccinating."

"If we give that T-Dap vaccination between 7 and 10, we are using it off label. And it's not licensed for usage. So if we can't use it, then we are the ones going to be held liable," said Long Island Pediatrician Dr. Mary Renna.

"I just can't see giving something designed for older kids to my extremely petite 8-year-old daughter," McNicholas said.

However, because of the new state rule, officials at the Laddie A. Decker Sound Beach School said they had no choice and as of Monday, Ceili was banned from attending class.

McNicholas said the girl was sent home from school after showing up for class on Monday.

"We put her on the bus as usual," McNicholas said. But Ceili was then told her mom would have to pick her up, Rivera reported.

"The assistant principal took me to the parking lot and took me to the car," Ceili said.

In a statement, the Miller Place School District said "We appreciate the family's frustration. The Miller Place School District is required and obligated to follow all of the rules and regulations of the State of New York on all matters including children's health. Questions and concerns about this issue should be raised with the New York State Department of Education and the Suffolk County Department of Health."

Several other parents of 7 and 8 year olds contacted CBS2, saying they are also balking at the booster.

"The only way that she will be back in school before age 10 is if the state makes an exception for my daughter and the other kids that are faced with the same situation, because I'm not getting her that shot," McNicholas said.

McNicholas has begun to home school Ceili and has started an online petition to get Ceili back into the school.

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