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Parents reminded to have their teens immunized

April 14, 2011 |  1:45 pm

L.A. County health officials reminded parents Thursday to have their teenagers immunized against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough this summer.

New statewide rules that go into effect July 1 require students entering seventh through 12th grade to receive the Tdap vaccine before entering school in September. The vaccine requirement applies to both public and private school students.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county public health officer, said whooping cough remains at epidemic levels in California. Four infants died of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, in L.A. County in 2010; normally, there are zero or one deaths every year.

“The new law does not take effect until the 2011-2012 school year, but adolescents should get their pertussis booster shot now to protect them now, avoid delays in starting school, and prevent long waits or delays in the fall,” Fielding said in a statement.

Parents can seek exceptions for their children if they are allergic to the shot or if vaccines contradict their personal beliefs.

But health officials warned that children who do not receive the vaccine are at higher risk for catching disease and can be barred from school during an outbreak.

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-- Rong-Gong Lin II

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