The school year is nearing an end, but state health officials are urging parents to think about making appointments now for immunizations that will be required for the next school year.
Illinois parents of students entering sixth and ninth grades should be prepared for a new requirement: Students will be required to show proof of receiving a Tdap booster (along with their required school physical) before returning to school, according to the state Department of Public Health.
Tdap is the vaccine that protects against tetanus, diptheria and pertussis (whooping cough) and the new vaccine being required is intended to provide continued protection.
Those students returning to school without proof of the vaccine must have an appointment to get it, or have an approved medical or religious exemption on file, the health department said.
The pertussis part of the vaccine is a particular emphasis, because that disease has been on the rise in Illinois and elsewhere, and health experts say the best protection is immunization.
Parent information about childhood vaccines: www.idph.state.il.us/about/pgci.htm