Al Lundeen (916) 440-7652
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the California Broadcasters Association are asking media outlets to air public service announcements (PSA) about a new state law requiring a pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccine. The message targets parents and urges them to make sure all public and private school students entering seventh through 12th grades have proof of a whooping cough Tdap booster shot when starting classes this school year. It is estimated that more than 1 million California students may not yet have received the booster vaccine, also leaving them vulnerable to this potentially deadly disease.“Whooping cough remains an ongoing threat to Californians with a high number of cases already reported this year,” said CDPH’s Director Dr. Ron Chapman. “We encourage the news media to help get the word out by broadcasting the PSA and putting it on their online news sites so parents across California know how to get their children the required vaccination.The PSA is available for download on shotsforschool.org. The California Broadcasters Association is encouraging TV stations throughout the state to make use of the PSA. The radio and video ads highlight the new requirement and encourage parents to make an appointment as soon as possible to get the booster to help beat the back-to-school rush. More than 9,000 cases of whooping cough were reported to CDPH in 2010, including 10 infant deaths. The number of cases was the most since 1947. So far this year, more than 1,900 cases of pertussis have been reported. The majority of cases in 2010 and other years occurred between May and November. “Having the first series of shots before kindergarten is not enough to stay protected throughout the school years,” explained Chapman. “All middle and high school students need to get a booster shot now to protect themselves and their families during the traditional peak seasons of summer and fall. While the booster vaccine helps guard individuals, it will also decrease the spread of what has proven to be a deadly disease.”Parents should make an appointment as soon as possible to get the booster. For those who don’t have a health care provider, other options are available. Physicians participating in California’s Vaccines for Children’s (VFC) Program provide low-cost Tdap shots to eligible patients. Also, many local health departments and pharmacies provide Tdap boosters. For the most complete and up-to-date information on the whooping cough (Tdap) requirement, including where to find a VFC physician, visit shotsforschool.org.
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