Parents and employees are reminded that a new California law requires that students entering 7th through 12th grades in the 2011-2012 school year must be immunized with a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine booster called Tdap before they can start school. Parents must provide their child's school with proof of immunization or come to the school to sign a Personal Belief Exemption statement prior to the first day of school.
Pertussis is a very contagious respiratory disease that can be severe and last for months. The immunity received from either early childhood immunization or pertussis disease wears off over time, leaving older students and adults susceptible again to pertussis. Immunization with Tdap can protect students, schools and communities against pertussis.
The new requirement affects all students – current, new, and transfers – in public and private schools. The law has two phases:
- For the 2011-2012 school year, all students entering into 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grades will need proof of a Tdap shot before starting school.
- For 2012-2013 and future school years, all students entering into 7th grade will need proof of a Tdap shot before starting school.
The California Department of Public Health's website, Shots for School, provides extensive information in English and Spanish. Visit http://www.shotsforschool.org/