LOS ANGELES - As students head back to school, the California Department of Public Health is urging parents to ensure their 11- and 12-year-old children have been immunized against pertussis, also known as whooping cough, and other dangerous diseases to keep them healthy during the new school year.In 2010, a new law was signed by the governor requires a whooping cough booster before middle and high school students can re-enter school. All incoming seventh graders must provide proof that they have met the Tdap requirement before starting school. "Immunizations create a shield at school and home," said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the state's department of public health. "Given recent outbreaks and epidemics nationwide, it is important that children be protected against these dangerous and highly contagious diseases, like whooping cough." If a child does not have health insurance, or is only partially insured, a doctor or local health department can provide information about the Vaccines for Children Program, which provides free or low-cost vaccines. "I encourage parents to check-in with their medical provider now to make sure that their kids are caught up on immunizations and can start school on time," Chapman said.
********** Published: August 02, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 16