school and high school students still need to be vaccinated with the
pertussis (whooping cough) booster shot in order to attend school this
fall, county health and education officials said at a recent news
conference at the county public health center.
“Let’s be real clear,” said County Superintendent of School Randy Ward.
“It will be a mistake for families to delay this vaccination for even
three days, let alone 30. The longer families wait, the more likely it
will be that clinics will be crowded and a child will not receive the
vaccination they need to be safe, and to keep others safe.”
Officials announced that there were still an estimated 40,000 7th-12th
grade students that need proof of vaccination. More than 225,000 middle
and high school students attend San Diego County public schools and are
subject to the new law.
Although school districts are allowed to delay enforcement of the
vaccination requirement for 30 days, Ward and other officials
discouraged any delay. They stressed the importance of getting children
vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Receiving the vaccination can prevent mortality in children and the
elderly,” said County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten. “Schools are a
repository for germs and parents need to understand that. The spread of
this disease can be prevented, but it starts with the vaccination.”
Joining Ward and Wooten at the news conference were Bill Kowba,
Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District, and Ralf
Swenson, Superintendent of the Grossmont Union High School District.
Wooten has said that families’ first option for the pertussis
vaccination, called Tdap, should be their regular primary family
physician. If families do not have a regular doctor, the vaccination is
available for $10, but the cost can be waived if families can’t pay. To
find the County’s six public health centers and vaccination clinic
locations, call 2-1-1.