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Whooping Cough Booster Deadline Approaching For San Diego Schools

Whooping Cough Booster Deadline Approaching For San Diego Schools
San Diego Unified seventh through 12th graders must submit proof of getting a whooping cough booster shot or personal belief waiver to remain in class next week.

By Kyla Calvert

The deadline for San Diego Unified seventh through 12th graders to submit proof of a whooping cough booster is October 6. After that, unvaccinated students will be told to stay home.

Thirty years ago, whooping cough had nearly disappeared. Today, it's back. KPBS and the Watchdog Institute at SDSU are working together to look at who’s getting sick, facts about the vaccine, and how public health agencies have responded.

The district is holding vaccination clinics to make sure as many students as possible make the deadline.


On Tuesday, 8,483 San Diego city school students had yet to submit proof that they’ve gotten a whooping cough booster, known as a TDAP shot. That is down from about 40,000 when the school year started, but is still about 10 percent of the district's seventh to 12th graders.

“We hope we have a long line around the block,” said Eileen Griffiths, district project nurse at a TDAP clinic at Wilson Middle School on Monday. “We really want to get this job done and we’re really getting down to the wire here. So it’s all about getting the word out to the public, ‘Please come, do this now, they’re not kidding about excluding your child. This is a state law, and we have to adhere to it.'”

Many of the clinics are part of the Vaccines for Children program and for students who qualify for Medi-Cal or for care under the Child Health and Disability Prevention Act.

A full schedule of the remaining clinics is available on the San Diego Unified website.

Watch KPBS Evening Edition Wednesday for more on the upcoming whooping cough booster deadline.

San Diego County school districts with earlier start dates have completed the 30-day grace period for students to show proof of vaccination. Many have had to keep just a handful of students out of school.

Shortly after its Sept. 21 deadline, Cajon Valley had 28 students who hadn’t provided proof of vaccination. On Monday, San Marcos was down to just seven students. Each of La Mesa-Spring Valley’s four middle schools had 98 percent or more of their seventh and eigth graders complying with the booster requirement. There were only two students who still needed to submit their paperwork to Vista Unified School District Friday of last week.. That same day, with the deadline approaching for Oceanside students, about 70 still needed to submit proof of vaccination.


Administrators with several districts said they had made personal calls to families whose children hadn’t shown their proof of vaccination. In some districts students who hadn’t had the booster but could show they had an appointment at a TDAP clinic, were allowed to attend school after the 30-day grace period.