“No shot, no school.” That’s the word from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and for the Hart Union School District their word is law.
The Hart district has begun notifying local families of a new school immunization law (AB 354) which requires all students entering 7th through 12th grades in the 2011-2012 school year to be immunized with a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine booster called Tdap.
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The Department of Public Health says pertussis is a very contagious respiratory disease that can be severe and last for months. The immunity received from either early childhood immunization for pertussis disease wears off over time, leaving older students and adults once again susceptible.
For the 2011-12 school year only, all students entering 7th through 12th grades will need proof of a Tdap booster shot before starting school. This requirement:
- Begins July 1, 2011.
- Can be met by receiving one dose of Tdap vaccine on or after the 10th birthday.
- Applies to all public and private schools. (current, new, and transfers)
- Does not affect students enrolled in summer school.
For 2012-2013 and future school years, all students entering into 7th grade will need proof of a Tdap shot before starting school.
Some children may qualify for free immunizations through the Vaccines for Children Program. If insured, please check with your local doctor or clinic for an appointment for this vaccine.
For information on the Vaccines For Uninsured Children Program click here.
Some students may be exempted from this requirement if there is a valid medical reason why they cannot be vaccinated or if their parent chooses to exempt them due to their personal beliefs. However, the district says, this leaves the adolescent at risk for catching and spreading pertussis.
Tdap vaccines are required even if they have had pertussis. This is because a person who has had pertussis can get the disease again.
The law does not take effect until the 2011-2012 school year but adolescents should get their pertussis booster (Tdap) shot now. Getting vaccinated now protects them during the current state epidemic, helps them start school on time, and prevents long waits/delays in the fall.