The Florida Department of Health in Flagler is working with Flagler Schools to provide free vaccine to protect students in sixth grade from whooping cough.
The vaccine, commonly referred to as Tdap, provides protection against tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Florida Law requires that students entering seventh through twelfth grades receive this vaccine, unless the parents file a valid exemption.
The Tdap vaccine will be provided at all elementary schools beginning April 23, thanks to the partnership between DOH-Flagler and Flagler Schools.
A letter and consent form will be mailed to parents in mid-March. Parents wanting to have their child vaccinated should complete the consent form and send it back to their child’s school by Monday, April 1.
The free clinics are being provided because Pertussis is highly contagious and can cause severe and prolonged coughing spells. Vaccination is the best way to prevent it. If many are vaccinated, a strong wall of protection is created for the whole group.
“We encourage parents of sixth graders to take advantage of this free opportunity to protect their children,” said Robert Snyder, county health officer. “These immunizations will help keep students healthy and in the classroom, where they need to be to make the most of their school experience.”
Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control say about Tdap:
Tdap vaccine can protect adolescents and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. One dose of Tdap is routinely given at age 11 or 12. People who did not get Tdap at that age should get it as soon as possible.
Tdap is especially important for health care professionals and anyone having close contact with a baby younger than 12 months.
Pregnant women should get a dose of Tdap during every pregnancy, to protect the newborn from pertussis. Infants are most at risk for severe, life-threatening complications from pertussis.
Another vaccine, called Td, protects against tetanus and diphtheria, but not pertussis. A Td booster should be given every 10 years. Tdap may be given as one of these boosters if you have never gotten Tdap before. Tdap may also be given after a severe cut or burn to prevent tetanus infection.
Your doctor or the person giving you the vaccine can give you more information.
Tdap may safely be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Some people should not get this vaccine:
- A person who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a previous dose of any diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis containing vaccine, OR has a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, should not get Tdap vaccine. Tell the person giving the vaccine about any severe allergies.
- Anyone who had coma or long repeated seizures within 7 days after a childhood dose of DTP or DTaP, or a previous dose of Tdap, should not get Tdap, unless a cause other than the vaccine was found. They can still get Td.
- Talk to your doctor if you:
- have seizures or another nervous system problem,
- had severe pain or swelling after any vaccine containing diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis,
- ever had a condition called Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS),
- aren’t feeling well on the day the shot is scheduled.
For more information about the vaccine or immunization scheduling, contact 386-437-7350 ext. 7069.
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