Media Release
Media Release
Press Contact: Mary Clunies-Ross, City Manager's Office, (510) 981-7008

NEW RULE BEFORE SCHOOL! WHOOPING COUGH IMMUNIZATION REQUIREMENT FOR STUDENTS IN GRADES 7-12

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, February 16, 2011) - It’s Preteen Vaccine Week, and this year’s goal is to raise awareness about a new school requirement for the fall. Students in California entering grades 7 through 12 in the 2011-2012 school year are now required to be immunized with a pertussis booster called Tdap. The new requirement affects all students- current, new, and transfers- in public and private schools.

According to the City of Berkeley’s Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman, “In 2010 California had an epidemic of pertussis with record-breaking rates of illness statewide and in Berkeley. Middle and high school students who are not vaccinated can easily spread the illness to family and friends, including infants who are at highest risk. Parents of preteens and teens should check with their doctor now to make sure that their children are up-to-date.”

Pertussis is a very contagious respiratory disease that can be severe and last for months. Fortunately, it is largely preventable by a readily available vaccine. Immunity to whooping cough wears off over time, so older students and adults may be susceptible if they haven’t had a booster shot. Immunization with Tdap can protect students, schools, and communities including young infants for whom pertussis is most severe and sometimes fatal.

The City of Berkeley’s Public Health Division and Berkeley Unified School District are working together to get the word out to students and parents, so they can get immunized before school begins.

If you do not have a regular doctor, the vaccine is offered at the City of Berkeley Public Health Clinic. Call 510-981-5350 or visit www.CityofBerkeley.info/publichealth for clinic hours and related information.

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