As the school year ends, and you look ahead to next year, the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) would like to remind families, if your child will be entering the seventh through 12th grade, he or she must receive the new "Tdap" vaccination for whooping cough, or pertussis, before the first day of school, otherwise your child will be turned away.
"If your child has not received the 'Tdap' booster, we highly recommend you contact your health care provider or clinic to receive the vaccination as soon as possible," said Linda Lenoir, the head nurse for PAUSD, in a letter that went out to all families in the district earlier this year.
California State Assembly Bill 354 was passed in September of last year in response to the worst outbreak of whooping cough in the state since the 1940s. At least 10 infants reportedly died from whooping cough in 2010.
Though you may remember your child receiving the whooping cough vaccination as a baby, the vaccine can often wear off after approximately five years, so doctors are administering the new "Tdap" booster shot.
According to state law, all children entering the seventh through 12th grades must show proof of having received the new "Tdap" booster shot before the first day of the 2011-12 school year, otherwise they cannot start school, the letter indicated. The only exception will be if a family applies for an exemption, such as for personal beliefs or if a child possesses a medical condition that does not allow for the vaccination.
Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) recently reported that as many as 2,700 pediatric patients in the required age group had still not received the "Tdap" booster shot.
The "Tdap" booster can be received at your local health provider, or at a number of local clinics including Rotacare Bay Area, on site at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, which serves low-income and uninsured families; MayView Community Health Center in Palo Alto and Mountain View; the San Mateo County Mobile Health Van which often travels around Redwood City; the Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto; and the Sequoia Teen Wellness Center in Redwood City.
For more information, contact the PAUSD offices at 650-329-3700.