A recent has prompted a reminder for parents to have their children vaccinated against the highly contagious infection. Students who are entering grade seven in California schools—both public and private—are required by state law to be vaccinated against whooping cough.
Also referred to as pertussis, whooping cough requires a vaccine booster known as a Tdap, which stands for Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis.
According to the National Institute of Health, pertussis is a contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing that makes it difficult to breath:
Coughing spells may lead to vomiting or a short loss of consciousness. Pertussis should always be considered when vomiting occurs with coughing. In infants, choking spells are common.
Once students have been vaccinated, they will be issued a certificate to bring with them on the first day of classes.
Exemptions are permitted in two instances:
- A licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.) who feels a vaccine is not suitable for a student because of medical reasons should submit to the school (via the patient's family as needed) a written statement documenting the medical exemption. The school should place a copy of the completed statement in the student's file.
Personal Belief Exemption
- A parent or guardian may have a child exempted from required immunizations if it's contrary to his/her beliefs. Schools have standardized procedures for parents and guardians who request a personal beliefs exemption.
For the 2011-12 school year, California students in grades seven to 12 were required to be immunized with a Tdap shot. For the 2012-13 school year and beyond, only seventh graders are required to show proof of immunization.