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Mississippi Students Face a New Vaccine Requirement

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 19 Jun 2012 04:06pm | comments
Photo: Steven De Polo Flickr

Starting this year, Mississippi students are required to get a vaccine against Tetanus, Diptheria, and Pertussis in order to enter the seventh grade. M-P-B's Jeffrey Hess reports a primary reason is to prevent the spread of Whooping Cough.

While it is still summer for the children playing at a park in Jackson, state health officials are asking their parents to prepare for the school year now.

This is the first year students entering the seventh grade are required to have a Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis vaccine called the TDAP shot.

Gilbert Andrews says he always makes sure his 12-year old son is up to date with his vaccinations.

"Because of their health. Concern about their health. If you don't get that vaccination they can easily catch anything. So, if they get their shots everything will be ok with them. And plus it is my responsibility as a parent,"  Andrews said.

His son Jarred Lomax says the shot was relatively painless.

"I just think that the shots really didn't hurt that much. It is not that much of a pain because it is little tiny needles. So it doesn't really hurt that much," Lomax said.

Pertussis is the clinical name for Whooping Cough.

Mississippi has seen a rise in cases of whooping cough from 6 in 2001 to more than 100 in 2010.

The state's acting epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says the vaccine helps prevent the spread of whooping cough, which can kill young children.

"This is a booster for those children in the adolescent age group. We know that children who are adolescent can be carriers of this infection and can be a source of infection for those children who are young and are more prone to serious complications from this infection," Byers said

In addition to the TDAP shot, The health department is also recommending that adolescents get vaccines against HPV and Meningococcal  Meningitis.

Until the end of the month, all three vaccines are available for free at every county health department.

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Photo: Steven De Polo Flickr


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