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2011 Brings New Vaccination Requirement

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January 6, 2011

A new law requiring middle and high school students to be vaccinated against whooping cough will go into effect for the 2011-2012 school year, the County’s Health and Human Services Agency reported today. This requirement will help prevent outbreaks such as the current one that brought the highest number of pertussis cases to California in 50 years.

Beginning July 1, all students entering 7th through 12th grades in both public and private schools must show proof that they have had a Tdap booster shot before they can start school. Schools have been informed there will be no grace period and that they should strictly enforce the requirement. Previously, the CDC recommended that children receive a booster shot of Tdap vaccine at 10-11 yrs.

In San Diego County, two infants died of complications resulting from pertussis and confirmed whooping cough cases reached a total of 1,106 by year’s end. The total includes nine cases in the last week at sites where other children may have been exposed. The number of cases in 2010 nearly tripled the previous record of 371 cases in 2005. In 2009, the region reported 143 confirmed cases of pertussis.

“The Tdap booster is important because it offers adolescents protection from the highly contagious disease after the childhood pertussis immunization protection wanes,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., County Deputy Public Health Officer. “Parents should make it their New Year’s resolution to get a booster shot for their middle or high school child before July 1 to ensure there is no delay in enrolling students for the fall term.”

Parents can get the vaccine from their primary care physician. Residents who do not have health care coverage may visit a HHSA Public Health Center.

The CDC also recommends that children get one dose of DTaP vaccine at the following ages: 2 months; 4 months; 6 months; 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends a pertussis booster vaccine (Tdap) for everyone 10 years or older who has not yet received it, especially women of childbearing age, before, during, or immediately after pregnancy; and other people, including household contacts, caregivers, and health care workers, who have contact with pregnant women or infants. Children 7-9 years of age who did not receive all of their routine childhood shots are recommended to receive a Tdap booster dose.

A typical case of pertussis in children and adults starts with a cough and runny nose for one-to-two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Fever, if present, is usually mild. The disease is treatable with antibiotics. 


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