ANDERSON — The Wigwam auditorium most famous for hosting basketball games was the scene of an emergency vaccination clinic Thursday as parents rushed to get the necessary shots to keep their kids in school.

Stephanie Grimes of the Madison County Health Department said the Wigwam clinic was just one of multiple clinics being held throughout the county to meet the high number of  unvaccinated students.

A change in state board of education requirements has left thousands of students scrambling to get the proper vaccinations before the Nov.1 deadline.

If a student shows up to school on Nov. 1 and hasn’t been vaccinated, that student will be sent home, according to Nancy Farley of Anderson Community Schools.

A line snaked through the hallways of the Wigwam, leading from tables full of nurses with needles to tables where paperwork had to be checked.

Parents and their students advanced forward at a snail’s pace, clutching vaccination records and other required materials.

The wait had been just over an hour for 14-year-old Liberty Christian student Quincey Hyatt and his grandmother, Pam Bagienski.

It hadn’t been that bad, Bagienski said, and the wait was worth it as long as Hyatt could stay in school.

“That’s right, step out of the line,” parent Regina Jordan called to a group of people who had cut in front of her.

Jordan’s patience was already wearing thin after waiting an hour, but then the copy machine broke, and now the wait was becoming tedious.

With her 16-year-old daughter in tow, she pushed forward, watching others in line to ensure no one tried to cut her place again.

Jean Hendrickson’s granddaughter Katie, 14, had just received her shots and became pale, needing to sit on the floor to compose herself.

Nurse Melissa Matthews said the vaccinations weren’t supposed to cause side effects, so the response was likely psychosomatic.

Katie Hendrickson didn’t mind. The Frankton student said she was determined to have perfect attendance this year and wasn’t going to let vaccinations stand in her way.

Stephanie Grimes of the Madison County Health Department estimated that 2,000 Anderson students hadn’t been vaccinated.

Another 3,000 students from across the county hadn’t been vaccinated.

For three hours on Thursday, more than 30 nurses and volunteers vaccinated students, but the job is far from done.

Another clinic will be held in Elwood on Monday.

Contact Brandi Watters 640-4847,        

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