August 8, 2006
A new state law requires 6th graders to be better immunized before starting school. Parents have just a few days now to get their kid's shots up to date. The shot is called the T-dap booster shot, and it protects kids against three separate diseases.
For Louisa 6th grader Brittany Lee, getting ready for school this year requires a visit to the local health department. In fact, all 6th graders in Virginia must get a T-dap booster shot before starting school.
“It contains a medication that can help protect the child against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis,” said Donna Sheridan of the Louisa County Health department.
“Brittany needs the [T-dap] and the reason is because they found that pertussis is making a come back,” the nurse told Brittany’s mom.
Cases of pertussis, or whooping cough have increased in Virginia schools. The last time most kids got vaccinated against it was before entering kindergarten. That shot won't hold up through the teenage years.
Letters went out to all rising sixth graders parents informing them of the new state law.
“I want her to be safe and health and I know it’s very important that she gets the shot,” said Joy Lee, Brittany’s mother.
It’s important for every child who hasn't had the T-dap booster within the last five years to get the shot. However, it is only mandatory for 6th graders like Brittany.
This year only sixth graders will be given a 90-day grace period to get the shot but next year they won't even be allowed into school without it.
The Fluvanna County health department is offering free shots this Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Charlottesville offices on Rose Hill Drive will be giving free shots on Wednesday, August 16 starting at 4 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and again on Saturday August 26 at 9:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.