Submitted by: Alameda County Public Health Department
As students head back to school in August and September, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director Dr. Ron Chapman and Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis are reminding parents to make sure their 11‐ and 12‐year‐old children have been immunized against pertussis, also known as whooping cough. In 2010, more than 9,000 pertussis cases were reported in California, including 10 infant deaths, the most in over 60 years.
“Although pertussis rates are not as high as during our 2010 epidemic in Alameda County, we continue to receive reports of cases,” remarked Health Officer Davis. Nationally, 15 states have reported pertussis outbreaks, including Washington and Oregon. ”The key to prevention,” he said, “is immunization, and ensuring up‐to‐date boosters are given. “
Much of California’s recent success in fighting this very contagious disease is due to the implementation of AB 354, the California law that required 7‐12 graders to be immunized against pertussis before entry into school last year.
The same law affects all students going into the 7th grade this year ‐ approximately 16,480 pupils in Alameda County.
“Please do not delay in getting your 11 and 12 year olds immunized against whooping cough,” Davis urged, adding that children should be current with all recommended vaccines. If your child does not have a doctor, or your family is uninsured or underinsured, plan to take advantage of one of Alameda County’s back‐to‐school immunization clinics.
“Immunizations create a shield at school and home,” noted CDPH Director Chapman. “Given recent outbreaks and epidemics nationwide, it is important that children be protected against these dangerous and highly contagious diseases...”
The back‐to‐school clinics are part of the education and outreach being done by local health departments during August, National Immunization Awareness Month. For the most complete and up‐to‐date information on required vaccinations, visit shotsforschool.org.*