State Law (AB354) Requires Pertussis Shot for 7th Graders

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All students entering,the 7th grade need proof of an adolescent whooping cough booster immunization (pertussis, called "Tdap") before starting school. This requirement applies to all public and private schools starting with the 2011 school year.

Background information

In 2010, California experienced its worst outbreak of pertussis in more than 50 years, with more than 9,000 confirmed cases and 10 infant deaths. The immunization requirement is intended to help reduce the spread of whooping cough among California's youth. Most children are fully protected prior to entering kindergarten because of the DTaP vaccine, a vaccine made for younger children. However, protection to these diseases wears off and preteens and teens may be at risk for catching this dangerous disease without a booster.

What is required?

The Tdap requirement affects all incoming 7th grade students in California, so it's important to avoid the back-to-school rush and to get your child vaccinated well in advance of the start of 7th grade. Please be aware that the school year starts in July at Unicorn School. If your child has received a Tdap, DTaP or DTP vaccine on or after his 7th birthday, please submit proof of vaccination, no further shot is required. If there is a medical or personal belief reason why your child will not receive this shot, please contact Unicorn School at (707) 895-2087.

How can I get this shot for my child?

This shot can be obtained at any doctor's office, clinic, or tribal health center. You can also get vaccines at Mendocino County Public Health if you don't have insurance (call (707) 472-2713 for information). More information on the Tdap requirement, including information on where to get free or low cost vaccines, is available at If your child has already received this shot, please send a printout from the doctor's office or clinic that gave the shot, or a copy of his yellow immunization card to school.

Other information

In addition to the Tdap booster, there are several other vaccines recommended for preteens and teens including the meningococcal vaccine, a second chickenpox shot (if they never had chickenpox disease), and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series. Everyone older than six months old is recommended to receive a seasonal flu vaccine.

If you have any questions, call Unicorn School at (707) 895-2087.