New Tdap Booster School Requirement

A new law has been passed in California (AB354) that requires that all students entering 7th through 12th grades will need proof of a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) booster shot for school entry starting in the 2011-2012 school year. So, if you have a child age 10 years or older who has not had a Tdap booster or if you are unsure, contact your physician.

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a serious illness. In 2010, California had five times the usual number of pertussis cases than usual. The problem is, that the immunity from the initial vaccine series that children receive before kindergarten wears off by the teenage years. So, the older Td booster was replaced with the newer Tdap several years ago.

Believe me, you do not want your teen to get whooping cough. In teens or adults, it causes enormous, prolonged coughing fits that often go on until the person vomits or passes out. Cases have been documented where people have coughed so hard they have broken ribs or punctured lungs and it goes on for weeks or months. It used to be called the “hundred day cough” for a reason. Plus, once a person has had whooping cough, they may get back into the coughing fits with subsequent colds for one to two years afterwards.

However, this isn’t the real reason for the vaccine. It is to protect the very youngest. Until babies have had their two, four and six month doses of the pertussis vaccine (the DTaP vaccine), plus several weeks to mount a good immune response to the six month dose, they are not completely immune yet. California unfortunately had nine deaths in young infants from whooping cough last year.

Because of this, it is also recommended that all parents or close household contacts of under six month olds be vaccinated as well. Daycare providers for young infants and others who routinely work with very young infants should also get the vaccine. Check with your doctor’s or your child’s pediatrician’s office or go to the health department. Enloe Hospital is offering the vaccine to new mothers before they go home with their newborn. The Enloe Children’s Health Center also has free doses for parents of young infants who are patients there.

This is really important. After the large increase in the number of new cases last year, the numbers may continue to climb if vaccines aren’t given. Please take the time to make sure that your child is safe.
blog comments powered by Disqus