Be sure to check immunization records for kids

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, July 5, 2012

In about six weeks, students Alabama will return to classrooms and a new school year begin.

And, for students 11 years and older in sixth-, seventh- or eighth-grades next year, the Alabama Department of Public Health is requiring an additional vaccination.

The Tdap – or tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine – helps prevent pertussis, a sometimes fatal bacterial infection in the lungs.

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State health officials say they are seeing an alariming rise in the number of pertussis cases. In fact, they’ve already recorded 69 cases during the first six months of the year.

Because the disease is most prevalent among adolescents, state health officials believe requiring the vaccine for students entering sixth-, seventh- or eighth-grades in the 2012-13 year is the right move.

We encourage you to check your child’s immunization records and make sure all of his immunizations are up-to-date, which is a requirement to attend public schools.

The Alabama Department of Public Health website ( can provide a quick glance of what is needed.

Immunizations are typically available at county health departments or from private phyisicians.

Take the time now to schedule an appointment and help your child, and his fellow students, stay as healthy as possible during the upcoming school year.