Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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Immunization requirement for ALL 6th-12th-grade students

Tdap immunization expands to all junior and high school students

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[January 29, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- Although we're just over halfway through the current school year, it is not too early for parents to start making appointments to meet next year's student immunization requirements. The Illinois State Board of Health recently approved recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education and the Immunization Advisory Committee to require all sixth- through twelfth-grade students to receive one Tdap vaccine, an immunization against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

"We've seen an increase in pertussis, or whooping cough, in Illinois during the last six years. Medical experts have found whooping cough has been on the rise in pre-teens and teens, indicating a waning immunity from infant and childhood immunizations," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck. "To combat the rise, last year Illinois required sixth- and ninth-grade students to receive the vaccine. For the 2013-2014 school year, the state is expanding this prevention effort and requiring all sixth- through twelfth-grade students to receive a Tdap booster shot."

Students must either show proof of having received this vaccination, must have an appointment to get the vaccine, or have an approved medical or religious exemption on file. Students who do not meet one of these three conditions by Oct. 15 will not be allowed to attend school until they do. For sixth- and ninth-grade students who received the Tdap vaccine last year or previously, they do not need to receive another vaccine, but only show proof of having received it before.

Vaccination continues to be the single most effective strategy to reduce illness, and even death, caused by pertussis and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

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"Immunizations are an easy and safe way to make sure our children are healthy and ready to learn," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "Please take a moment to make sure your children are up-to-date on required immunizations so they do not miss very important classroom time and, importantly, protect themselves and others from preventable illnesses."

For more information about pertussis, visit www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbpertus.htm, or for information on vaccines and school requirements, go to www.idph.state.il.us/about/shots.htm or www.isbe.net/school_health.htm.

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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