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LA Unified offers shots to stall rise of whooping cough

Yana Gracile | July 21, 2014

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immunizationIn response to a surge in cases of whooping cough, LA Unified is helping parents meet new state immunization requirements by offering immunization shots, beginning July 28. The T-dap shots protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough.

Eligible students are Medi-Cal recipients, Native Americans and those without insurance.

Students must have a completed an L.A. Unified immunization consent form and a current immunization record to receive the whooping cough booster.

Under a 2010 state law, when California experienced 9,000 whooping cough cases, children entering 7th to 12th grades are required to be immunized and need proof of a T-dap booster shot before starting school. The state legislature passed the law to guard against further outbreaks. Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that is usually spread by coughing.

Pertussis cases have been on the rise with elementary, middle and high school outbreaks being reported across the state, according to the California Department of Public Health. As of July 8, a total of 5,393 cases have been documented in California.

LAUSD officials say 50 LA Unified students have contracted whooping cough since June. More than a third of them are from the San Fernando Valley. Officials have reported 84 cases within the district since March.

A new state law that went into effect Jan. 1 requires parents, except for those who opt for religious reasons, to submit a signed doctor’s note proving that they have been notified of the risks and benefits of immunizations.

A list of clinics providing the shots is available here.

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