The State of Virginia requires that all students entering middle school and high school must have a diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (Tdap) vaccine booster unless the student received a tetanus-containing vaccine within the previous five years before the start of the 2012-2013 school year. Since tetanus is part of the Tdap, it is recommended that the Tdap vaccine booster not be given closer than five years after the last tetanus immunization.
The primary purpose of this 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. This vaccine is incorporated into the vaccine that is given for diphtheria and tetanus. The vaccine is known as Tdap, Adacel, or Boostrix. Two different Tdap vaccines booster for pertussis are available for use in children and adults ten to sixty-four years old. Adacel is recommended for children and adults ages eleven to sixty-four. Boostrix is recommended for children ages ten to eighteen.
Please review your child’s immunization record. The tetanus immunization may be listed as T, Td, Dtap, Tdap, Adacel, or Boostrix. If your child’s last tetanus immunization was before August 27, 2007, please have the Tdap vaccine booster immunization administered before the start of the 2012-2013 school year. If your physician chooses to use Adacel and your child will not be eleven before August 27, 2012, you must submit a note from your child’s physician stating that your child has a medical exemption because the physician will be administering Adacel when your child is eleven years of age.
Immunizations may be obtained from your physician, military clinics, or the Loudoun County Health Department. The Loudoun County Health Department will provide the immunizations that are required for school attendance at no cost. The Health Department is located in the Shenandoah Building at 102 Heritage Way, N.E., Suite 100, Leesburg, (phone number 703-777-0236). Immunizations are administered by appointment. If you choose to go to the Health Department for this immunization, you must bring a current immunization record.
For rising sixth graders, documentation of the Tdap vaccine booster, any vaccine containing tetanus given after August 27, 2007, or a medical exemption if your child will not be eleven by August 27, 2012, should be given to the nurse or health clinic assistant at your child’s elementary school this school year. If your child will not receive the Tdap vaccine booster before the end of this school year, documentation should be given to the middle school or high school this summer. Your child will not be allowed to start school without this immunization, documentation of a tetanus-containing vaccine within the previous five years of the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, or a medical exemption. A list of students who require this immunization will be provided to each middle school at the end of this school year. There will be no grace period for your child to begin middle school on August 27 without this vaccine.
All new seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students will be required to have documentation of a Tdap vaccine booster unless the student has received a tetanus-containing vaccine within the previous five years prior to the start of school year 2012-2013. Students must have documentation of this immunization in order to begin school on August 27, 2012. There will be no grace period for your child to begin school on August 27 without this vaccine.
If you have questions, please contact your child’s physician or the local health department.