Geneva School District 304 passed along a reminder from the Illinois Department of Public Health today (Tuesday, Feb. 14) saying that parents need to have all incoming sixth- and ninth-graders immunized against whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus and diphtheria.
The announcement comes on the heels of a letter to parents from the Department of Public Health saying whooping cough outbreaks are on the rise in Illinois.
"Numerous outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) have occurred recently among school children in Illinois," the Public Health Department letter says. "Pertussis is easily transmitted through coughing and sneezing and may cause an illness that persists for weeks to months.
"Pertussis does not typically cause severe illness in healthy students, but can cause prolonged absences from school and extracurricular activities. In addition, pertussis can be transmitted from healthy students to infants and individuals with chronic illnesses, for whom pertussis can be life-threatening."
The IDPH recently informed school districts of the new requirement impacting all students entering sixth and ninth grades in the fall. Each student will be required to provide proof of Tdap vaccination along with the school physical forms that are also required for these grades.
Tdap is a vaccine recommended to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whopping cough). All students in grades 6 through 12 are highly encouraged to receive the Tdap immunization this summer to provide increased protection against pertussis and to be compliant with state law.
Students entering sixth and ninth grades in the fall who are not compliant with this state of Illinois mandate will be subject to exclusion from school.
More From the Department of Public Health Letter to Parents
Protection against pertussis begins to wear off during grade school. This leaves pre-teens, teenagers and adults at risk for this illness. To address the increase in pertussis cases amongolder students, a booster vaccination (called Tdap) is recommended for all students in grades 6 through 12.
Students entering sixth and ninth grades without one of the following will be subject to exclusion:
- Proof of Tdap vaccination
- An approved medical or religious exemption on file with the school,
- An appointment to receive the Tdap shot during the school year.
Many providers, local pharmacies and most local health departments provide Tdap vaccinations. Many providers participate in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which provides vaccines at no cost to doctors who serve Medicaid-eligible children younger than 19 years of age. If you need assistance, check with the Kane County Health Department for resources for getting Tdap vaccination.
Check with your doctor if you are not sure if your child has received Tdap, and if not, get yourchild vaccinated.
SOURCE: School District 304