Requirement of Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine for Entrance into
The Virginia General Assembly passed a law in the 2006 legislative session requiring that all students entering sixth grade must have a diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine (Tdap) booster. In school year 2012-2013 middle and high school students are required to have this vaccine.
Purpose of New Required Vaccine
The primary purpose of the new requirement is to add protection for pertussis (whooping cough). Children are typically vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) as babies. The last diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT) vaccine is given to children between the ages of four and six. Five to ten years after the last immunization is given, the protection against pertussis (whooping cough) begins to wear off. Until recently, the vaccine for pertussis was not approved for those over the age of seven. However, a new vaccine for pertussis (whooping cough) has now been approved for use in older children. This vaccine is incorporated into the vaccine that is given for diphtheria and tetanus (Tdap). Since tetanus is part of the Tdap, it is recommended that the Tdap not be given closer than five years after the last tetanus immunization.
The tetanus immunization may be listed on a child's immunization record as T, Td, Dtap, and/or Tdap. If the last tetanus immunization was given within the previous five years before the first day of middle school, the Tdap immunization should not be administered. A student cannot begin middle or high school unless he/she has documentation of Tdap or a tetanus-containing vaccine within the previous five years.
Where to Obtain the Immunization
Immunizations may be obtained from a physician, military clinic, or the Loudoun County Health Department.
The Loudoun County Health Department will provide the immunizations at no cost if it is required for school. This information can be found at the Health Department's website http://www.loudoun.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=2164
Documentation of Vaccine Required to Enter Middle and High School
Documentation of the Tdap or any vaccine containing tetanus given within the previous five years before the first day of school should be sent or delivered to the student's middle school or high school. Any student without documentation will be excluded from school the first day of class.