New shots required for incoming 6th and 9th grade students - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

New shots required for incoming 6th and 9th grade students

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ROCKFORD (WREX) - There is a reminder from the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) and the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition (IMCHC) to take your kids to the doctor before school starts, to make sure they have all of the required immunizations.

There is a new requirement this year for incoming 6th and 9th grade students in Illinois.  They must show proof of a Tdap vaccination.  That is a booster shot that protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

Pertussis is more commonly known as whooping cough.  The new requirement comes after an increase in cases of the disease over the past three years.  So far this year, cases in Illinois have more than doubled compared to this time last year. 

"We've made tremendous strides over the last several decades in reducing the number of preventable deaths through the widespread use of vaccines," said Dr. Kay Saving, president, American Academy of Pediatrics-Illinois Chapter. "But the recent increase in whooping cough cases proves that parents can't let their guard down when it comes to their child's immunization schedules. Back to school also means back to the doctor to ensure your entire family remains healthy and protected."

If you do not have health insurance, many doctors do participate in the Vaccines for Children program.  It is a federal initiative that provides free vaccinations for children and teens who are eligible for Medicaid.

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