March 29, 2011
New State Immunization Law for 7th-12th Grade
A new California immunization law (Assembly Bill 354) goes into effect on July 1, 2011, requiring all students entering 7th through 12th grades in the 2011-2012 school year be immunized with Tdap, a pertussis (“whooping cough”) vaccine booster. Immunization with Tdap can protect students, schools and communities against pertussis.
The new requirement affects all students–current, new, and transfers–in both public and private schools. The law has two phases:
- For the upcoming 2011-2012 school year, all students entering into 7th through 12th grades will need proof of a Tdap shot before starting school.
- For the 2012-2013 and future school years, only students entering into 7th grade will need proof of a Tdap shot before starting school.
By law, students who do not have proof of receiving a Tdap booster shot will not be able to start school, until proof is provided to the school. (The tetanus-diphtheria booster shot, called Td, will not meet this requirement.)
There have been over 9,000 cases reported in California during 2010--the most in over 60 years. Pertussis is a very contagious respiratory disease that can be severe and last for months. Several infants have died and hundreds of others were hospitalized. Because immunity for both pertussis disease and vaccines wears off over time, a booster immunization with Tdap vaccine is recommended for adolescents and adults to maintain protection.
The Public Health Department asks that parents with insured children contact their medical provider to get the Tdap vaccine as soon as possible. All others can contact their school health program for information.
Candy Jara, 626-744-6041
Letty Saenz, 626-744-6038