Florence Co. school district mandates vaccine for 7th graders

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Department of Health and Environmental Control is mandating that all 7th graders get the Whooping Cough vaccine, starting in the 2013 school year, along with administrators in Florence County School District One.

This is the first time in nearly a decade the district has required an urgent vaccination. The Tdap vaccine will be required for all rising seventh graders in the 2013-2014 school year to protect students from Pertussis (Whooping cough).

"To me you can't be too safe," says Kelly Fox, who knows the dangers of whooping cough. She says her friend's son had the sickness, and it was one of the scariest things she has ever seen.

"Every time he would get a coughing spell he was dying in her arms," she says. Kelly is just one of many parents who agree this vaccination is needed.

Lorna McBride is the Director of Elementary Education for Florence School District One, but she also has a family tie to the district: her granddaughter goes to school there, and she says knowing the district is being proactive is reassuring

"I'm just glad that the information is going out, and that are parents will be informed," McBride says.

DHEC officials say knowing the basics about whooping cough is the best way to keep you and your family healthy. The illness is spread through coughing, that can actually sound like a "whoop." Symptoms include fever, headache and, of course, coughing. You could have the disease for up to two weeks before you notice symptoms, so health experts say the sooner you and your kids get that vaccine - the better.

Parents of sixth graders are advised to make appointments to receive the vaccine now in order to provide a South Carolina Certificate of Immunization showing their child has received the newly required Tdap Vaccine before the school year begins.

For more information about the vaccine, contact Florence One Lead Nurse Sonya Best at 843-673-1158 or your local health care provider.

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