The Oklahoma City Public School District is alerting parents and guardians of students entering 7th & 8th grade of a new Oklahoma state law that changes vaccination requirements. It started with the 2011-2012 school year, all incoming 7th graders had to have the Tdap vaccination to enroll in school.
“This is a new requirement that parents must be aware of, not only will it help protect the health of students and staff but not having the proper vaccinations will prevent students from starting school,” said Debbie Johnson, OKCPS District Health Administrator.
The Tdap vaccination is also known as the pertussis or “whooping cough” vaccine booster. Whooping cough can be a very serious and sometimes deadly respiratory disease for infants and very young children; it spreads easily from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes and is preventable by vaccination.
“Most school-age children have a pertussis vaccine series before entering kindergarten but that protection can wear off over time,” added Johnson. “A booster is needed to continue protection for students and adults and to protect those in the community who are at risk of serious illness or death.”
For the 2012-2013 school year, all students entering seventh& eighth grade will need proof of a pertussis booster (Tdap or pertussis containing vaccine). Students will not be allowed to attend school until an immunization record is presented with proof of the pertussis booster. State law permits medical and personal belief exemptions. A new personal beliefs exemption must be signed for the pertussis booster requirement.