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Whooping cough vaccinations required

WOODSTOCK – All sixth- through 12th-grade students will be required to receive one booster shot of Tdap, an immunization against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, under a recommendation approved by the Illinois State Board of Health.

Pertussis is better known as whooping cough. 

Students must show proof of vaccination, have an appointment to get the vaccine or have an approved medical or religious exemption. 

Students who do not meet one of those conditions by Oct. 15, will not be allowed to attend school until they do.

Pertussis cases have risen in Illinois in the past six years, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which made the recommendation along with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Immunization Advisory Committee.

Waning immunity puts the entire community at-risk and vaccination continues to be the single-most effective strategy to reduce illness, and even death, caused by pertussis and other vaccine preventable diseases, officials said.

McHenry County’s most recent pertussis outbreak began in August 2011, with 170 cases recorded by year end. It continued into 2012 with 299 cases. So far this year, 30 cases have been documented.

Sixth- and ninth-grade students who received the Tdap vaccine in 2012 or before do not need to another shot, but must show proof of vaccination.

Vaccine is widely available through health care professionals, pharmacies, clinics and through the federally funded Vaccine for Children for low-income families.

For information about pertussis, visit http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/faqs.html.

For vaccine and school requirements, go to http://www.isbe.net/pdf/school_health/idph-Tdap-parent-ltr-010313.pdf.

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