SAN DIEGO (CNS) - More than 42,000 students in San Diego County still need to prove that they are up to date with their Tdap vaccination so they can enter school for the fall semester, according to area health and education officials.
A new state law requires that children entering grades 7-12 prove they are current with the shot, which helps prevent pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria. Schools can provisionally enroll students without proof, but they'll have one month to show that they've been vaccinated.
"Doctors' appointments are filling up fast," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "We encourage parents to vaccinate their children now to avoid long lines and wait times."
A series of clinics have been scheduled beginning Monday to allow students to get their shots. Monday's first events are at 8 a.m. at Cajon Valley Middle School, 550 E. Park Ave. in El Cajon, and Potter Junior High School, 1743 Reche Road in Fallbrook.
Authorities estimated that more than half of the county's 230,000 middle and high school students were not current with their Tdap shots when the law took effect.
The law affects students in both public and private schools.
San Diego County went through a pertussis epidemic in 2010, with 1,144 cases reported. Two infants died of the highly contagious illness, which is also known as whooping cough.
So far this year, 326 cases have been reported to the county Health and Human Services Agency.
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