UPDATED: Mandated whooping cough shots around the corner

Under a new California law that takes effect in July 1, 2011,
all California middle and high school students must be vaccinated
against pertussis, or whooping cough, for this upcoming 2011-2012
school year, according to the Gilroy Unified School District
website.
Under a new California law that takes effect in July 1, 2011, all California middle and high school students must be vaccinated against pertussis, or whooping cough, for this upcoming 2011-2012 school year, according to the Gilroy Unified School District website.

“This is going to be a huge job” said GUSD nurse Eileen Obata. “We have to immunize all seventh through 12th graders.”

The vaccination, called a “Tdap” shot, is a response to a large growth in pertussis cases in the past few years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most recent numbers show more than 17,000 cases of whooping cough were reported throughout the country in 2009, affecting mostly infants and teens.

According to GUSD there will be no grace period and the regulations will be strictly enforced.

From 1 to 4:30 p.m. every Thursday afternoon until further notice, the Public Health Department will offer low-cost Tdap shots for children entering grades 7 through 12 that do not have a medical provider or health insurance.

Tdap shots will be offered at the Public Health Adult Immunization Clinic located at 976 Lenzen Ave. Suite 1500 in San Jose.

The cost is $15.00 per shot and parents must bring their child’s yellow immunization card in order to receive a shot, and/ or the letter from the child’s school requesting the whooping cough booster.

Whooping cough symptoms include a runny nose, low-grade fever and rapid deep coughs that are followed by a high-pitched “whoop,” according to the CDC. The disease can lead to death if untreated because of exhaustion and the inability to breathe normally.

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