Students that will be entering the seventh grade later this year will need to have an additional vaccination. Washington County Public Health is working with the Iowa Department of Public Health to offer the new vaccinations this spring for free.
In addition to other requirements, students need a one-time booster shot that covers tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, which is sometimes called ‘whooping cough.’ Washington County Public Health indicates that pertussis goes through a cycle that brings it to epidemic levels every 3 to 5 years. The majority of cases reported last year were in children ages 10 to 14.
Pertussis symptoms begin like a common cold but develop into a severe cough. Washington County Public Health Nurse Traci Shirkey says that many students have already received this particular vaccine, and can show vaccination records to the school. Otherwise, free school-based clinics will be scheduled in the spring.