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Whooping Cough Booster Now Required For All Older CA Students

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Aired 10/7/10

Beginning next year, all California students 10 years old and up will need a whooping cough booster before starting school. The legislature passed the booster law in the midst of California’s worst whooping cough epidemic in 55 years.

Touro University medical student Shamis Fallah prepares paperwork before adminstering a Tdap vaccination during the Solano County health fair August 11, 2010 in Vallejo, California.
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Above: Touro University medical student Shamis Fallah prepares paperwork before adminstering a Tdap vaccination during the Solano County health fair August 11, 2010 in Vallejo, California.

— Beginning next year, all California students 10 years old and up will need a whooping cough booster before starting school. The legislature passed the booster law in the midst of California’s worst whooping cough epidemic in 55 years.

More than 5,000 cases of whooping cough have been reported in California this year. Nearly 200 of those affected have been hospitalized, most of them infants. Nine babies have died.

Until now, school aged children were required to have five doses of the whooping cough, or pertussis vaccine before entering Kindergarten.

A sixth dose, or booster shot has now been added for seventh graders.

A male patient receives a vaccination shot in his upper arm.
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Above: A male patient receives a vaccination shot in his upper arm.

Research shows immunity to the disease wanes over time, said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, San Diego County deputy public health officer.

“For the first year of the law, all students entering seventh through 12th grades will be required to show proof they’ve had their Tdap vaccine on their 10th birthday or after,” Sidelinger said.

The booster is called Tdap. It protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Tdap was FDA approved in 2005 for only one lifetime dose per person.

For people who don’t know whether they’ve had the booster, it's recommended they get the shot. Sidelinger says a second dose won’t “harm” them or “decrease protection” from the illness.

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