Whooping cough (pertussis) is a contagious disease that causes violent coughing fits and has been on the upswing in the United States recently. In fact, this disease was widespread in California in 2010 and was responsible for 10 infant deaths, according to the California Department of Public Health.

That’s why a new state law (AB 354) was passed recently that requires all students who are going into seventh to twelfth grade to have proof of having an adolescent whooping cough booster shot (called “Tdap”) before entering public or private schools this fall. Beginning the year after (2012–2013 school year and beyond), the law will affect only seventh-graders. Limited exemptions are allowed.

If your incoming seventh- to twelfth-grader has already received the Tdap booster vaccine, you’ll simply need to supply proof to your school. If your child hasn’t received it, make an appointment now for him or her to get the Tdap booster. Check with your school about how and when to submit the documentation. For more info, visit shotsforschool.org/tdaplaw.html

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