Incoming seventh graders to Hall Middle School and Kent Middle School have one extra thing on their Back to School to-do lists.
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 breathe.
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.