ississippi will join 41 other states in requiring a recent Tdap vaccination for all students entering the 7th grade, beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.
Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccination provides protection against whooping cough (pertussis), a highly contagious disease that can be severe or fatal, especially in very young children. Infants who are too young to be vaccinated against pertussis must be protected by ensuring that adolescents and adults around them cannot carry the disease.
Why vaccinate at this age?
The immunity received from early childhood vaccination against pertussis weakens over time. Because pertussis is highly contagious, adolescents can contract the disease and easily transmit it to younger children and infants. Pertussis, especially among infants, is now an increasing problem in Mississippi and the U.S. as a whole.
Teens at this age also qualify for other recommended vaccinations which you may wish to schedule at the same time.
What other vaccinations are recommended for teens?
Additional recommended vaccinations include those against meningococcal disease, human papillomavirus (HPV), and a varicella (chickenpox) booster for those who did not receive one at an earlier age.
Is this vaccination required for all new seventh-graders?
Yes. In order to enter school, all students entering the seventh grade must have documentation from a physician verifying that they have received a recent Tdap vaccination (at age seven or later). This includes new students, current students and transfer students in both public and private schools.
What does the Tdap vaccination cost?
Vaccines for Children (VFC) providers and county health departments throughout the state provide the required Tdap vaccination for $10 per child.
Where to get vaccinations
Your doctor or other health care provider can arrange a Tdap vaccination for you. You can also visit any county health department to receive Tdap and other vaccinations.