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 Health, School Officials Urge Middle School, High School Students to Get Vaccinations

​Middle 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.