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7th graders required to get Tdap shot

Posted: August 9, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 9, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Seventh-graders entering the Hart district for the first time will need to receive a pertussis, also known as whooping cough, vaccination ordered by state law before they can start classes Aug. 16.

Beginning in 2011, all students entering seventh through 12th grade are required to receive a Tdap — or pertussis — booster shot. Most students should have received the vaccination last year, but any new students entering the William S. Hart Union High School District this year have to receive the vaccine.

“Last year, the law just went into effect so we had to do 7-12th graders,” said Gail Pinsker, spokeswoman for the Hart district, in an email Wednesday. “It was a big issue that required tremendous outreach from our district and school sites.

All students complied with the deadline last year, including some students who had waivers signed, Pinsker said.
Hart district officials will be ensuring that all students have either the immunization or a waiver on file before starting school, Pinsker said.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that can cause episodes of severe coughing, according to information from the Hart district. In 2010, more than 9,000 pertussis cases were reported in California, including 10 infants who died as a result of the disease, according to the California Department of Public Health.

In 2011, no Californians died from whooping cough, which public health officials credit to greater awareness, faster diagnosis and the state law that requires middle and high school students get a booster shot.

“It’s important that incoming seventh-graders see their doctor and get immunized,” Vicki Engbrecht, assistant superintendent of education services said in a prepared statement. “Getting Tdap now will not only meet the new school requirement, but it will also protect our children from the constant threat of pertussis.”

Most students getting regular check-ups would have already had the shot or can receive the shot from their pediatrician, but there are also some shot clinics available in the Santa Clarita Valley, Pinsker said.

For more information, visit
The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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