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Wed July 24, 2013

Immunization requirements for the next school year have changed and the DuPage County Health Department is informing parents that all students entering 6th through 12th grades are now required to provide proof of one dose of Tdap vaccine which combines tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis  (whooping cough).

Outbreaks of whooping cough continue to occur among school children in Illinois. Pertussis is easily transmitted through coughing and sneezing and may cause an illness that persists for weeks or months. Pertussis does not typically cause severe illness in healthy students, but can cause prolonged absences from school and extracurricular activities.

In addition, pertussis can be transmitted from healthy students to infants and individuals with chronic illnesses, for whom pertussis can be life-threatening.

Many students may have already received the vaccine and simply need to provide the school with verifying documentation from the family physician. Parents should check with their schools for the types of documentation that are acceptable.

Many healthcare providers, local pharmacies and local health departments provide Tdap vaccinations. Many providers, including the DuPage County Health Department, participate in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which provides vaccines to Medicaid-eligible children younger than 19 years of age. If you need assistance, check with the Health Department for resources for getting the Tdap vaccination.

Students without proof of vaccination will be subject to exclusion from school, as described in the School Code of Illinois.

For more information, follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.dupagehealth.org.