Booster shot ahead for many before next school year

Booster shot ahead for many before next school year

CHAMPAIGN — Many adolescents and teens are going to need a whooping-cough booster shot in time to meet a new state requirement kicking in for the upcoming school year, public health officials predict.

Students entering sixth through 12th grades will be required to show proof they got the Tdap booster to remain in school.

Last year, the booster shot requirement applied just to sixth- and ninth-graders.

That means parents of students entering seventh and 10th grades probably have already dealt with this.

But the "vast majority" of students in the other five grades will likely need this vaccination in the upcoming months, says Brandon Meline, director of maternal and child health management for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

Meline urges parents not to wait until the last minute.

"One issue is capacity," he said. "All these kids who don't normally need an immunization visit are now going to need visits."

The Vermilion County Health Department says it's working to get the word out so parents aren't caught by surprise by the vaccination requirement in the fall.

"I have a feeling a lot of kids are going to need it," says Doug Toole, that department's environmental health director.

The state is requiring kids in sixth- through 12th grades to show proof of receiving one dose of recent Tdap vaccination. Tdap is intended to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis.

Protection from the TDaP shots kids get in early childhood wears off as they get older, and a Tdap booster is intended to reduce the risk of getting pertussis, or whooping cough, as children get older.

The state requirement aligns with the existing requirement for students entering sixth grade to get a physical examination and guarantees students in the other grades get a catch-up vaccination to reduce their pertussis risk, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Pertussis has been on the rise among school-aged children and adolescents in Illinois and vaccinations have been shown to reduce the spread of this disease in communities, the department says.

Meline advises parents to check with their doctors to see when their children were last vaccinated.

To help kids meet the new school requirement, both Champaign-Urbana and Vermilion County public health will provide a series of Tdap vaccination clinics open to the public this summer.

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District will offer school physicals and the Tdap vaccine from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 20, Aug. 24, Sept. 21, Oct. 5 and Oct. 12 at its headquarters at 201 W. Kenyon Road, C.

The school physical is free, and the vaccination costs $23.87 without insurance. Parents are asked to bring their child's immunization record and Health Alliance Medical Plans insurance or Medicaid cards.

The Vermilion County Health Department, 200 S. College St., Danville, will offer Tdap vaccinations for $15, and says it accepts cash, checks or Public Aid cards only.

In most cases, a parent or guardian should bring the child to sign consent forms, but someone else can bring the child if paperwork has already been signed by a parent or guardian and brought along, the department says.

Vermilion County vaccinations will be offered:

— July 11, Aug. 8 and Aug. 22, from 2-6:30 p.m.

— July 16, July 23, July 30, Aug. 13, Aug. 28, from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3:30 P.M.

Or call the department at 431-2662, extension 249 to schedule a vaccination.

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