MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Health Department wishes to remind parents of incoming seventh-graders about a required additional Tdap vaccination for the 2010-11 school year. The Ohio Department of Health is requiring this vaccination as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. A letter explaining this vaccination was sent to parents in April 2010; some sixth-grade students were vaccinated at that time, but many more still need the vaccine.
The Tdap vaccine is also known as tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. A pertussis vaccine was earlier administered to students when entering kindergarten, but immunity has reportedly decreased. There has also been noted an increase in cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Pertussis is a severe respiratory illness that causes violent, rapid coughing that can last for extended periods of time and cause a child to be very sick. It is very contagious and is easily spread from one child to another. The ODH and the Knox County Health Department want to minimize the spread of preventable illnesses in school and provide children with a healthy environment in which to learn.