Starting middle school comes with a whole host of worries -- going to a new school, picking electives, making friends -- but coming down with whooping cough doesn't need to be one of them.
For incoming 7th grade students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, proof of a TDaP booster shot is mandatory before school starts Aug. 12. L.A. Unified will host a number clinics, listed below, to help make sure students receive a booster shot free of charge.
The vaccine helps prevent tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Because pertussis is so contagious, students who do not have proof of vaccination will be barred from attending class in accordance with state law.
Children who receive Medi-Cal, are of Native American descent or who don't have insurance are all eligible to participate. A parent or guardian must be present and have a district immunization consent form as well as a current immunization record for each child.
Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a contagious bacterial disease. The California Department of Public Health reports the state is currently experiencing an epidemic since the overall number of incidents has risen from the 1990s.
The illness is characterized by uncontrollable coughs followed by a gasp for air that sounds like a "whoop." It may be accompanied by a runny nose or fever, and can be fatal for infants if it causes a pause in their breathing, called "apnea."
Avoiding people who are infected helps stop the spread, but vaccination is the easiest way to prevent it, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Below, find a district clinic near you. Note that all clinics are closed from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
- July 28-31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4-8, at Zelzah Clinic, North Area Nursing Office, 6505 Zelzah Ave., Reseda, from 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- July 28-31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4- 8, at Telfair PTA Health Center, 10911 Telfair Ave., Pacoima, from 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- July 28-31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4- 8, at Columbus School-Based Clinic & Family Resource Center, 22250 Elkwood St., Canoga Park, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- Aug. 4 - 8, at Murchison Street Elementary School Clinic, 1501 Murchison St., Los Angeles, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- July 29 and 31, Aug. 5 and Aug. 7 at Central PTA Clinic and Student Medical Services, 1000 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- Aug 4- 8 at Holmes Avenue Elementary School Clinic, 5108 Holmes Ave., Los Angeles, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- July 28-31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4- 8, Roosevelt Senior High School, 456 S. Matthews Street, Los Angeles, from 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- July 30, Aug. 1, Aug. 4, Aug. 6 and Aug. 8 at San Miguel Healthy Start Clinic, 9801 San Miguel Ave., South Gate, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- Aug. 4-8, at Betty Plasencia Elementary School, (Student Guidance Assessment Center), 1321 Cortez St., Los Angeles, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- July 28-31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4- 8, at Thomas Alva Edison Middle School, 6500 Hooper Ave., Los Angeles from 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Appointments for required immunizations may also be arranged through a primary doctor, or by contacting the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for information on no- or low-cost clinics at phone number 211.
Read up on pertussis at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip/DiseaseSpecific/Pertussis.htm. Find district information on the vaccine at http://pertussis.lausd.net/.