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    Pertussis Vaccine Information & Requirements

    Pertussis (whooping cough) has reached epidemic levels in California, in 2011 the State of California created a law that requires all students entering the 7th through 12th grades to provide proof of having received a booster vaccination (called Tdap) against the disease.

    About the Tdap Booster

    There is no stand-alone pertussis vaccine, so it is combined with two other vaccines. Tdap stands for:

    T: tetanus

    D: diphtheria

    AP: acellular pertussis

    Neither the pertussis vaccine nor natural infection gives a person life-long immunity to whooping cough. Immunity decreases with time. The push to get the booster for the 7th to 12th grade age group is because their immunity is most likely to have lapsed.

    The Tdap booster is safe; it does not cause the disease, and serious reactions or side effects are very rare.

    About Pertussis

    Pertussis is caused by a bacterium (Bordetella pertussis) that is highly contagious and spread through the air by infectious drop­lets. Pertussis can be a severe illness, causing prolonged coughing spells that can persist for weeks. The coughing spells can make it difficult for a person to eat, drink and breathe. In infants, it can also cause pneumonia and lead to brain damage, seizures and mental retardation, even death.

    From our Blog: PAMF Reaches out to Parents on New California Pertussis Vaccine Requirement, March 25, 2011