The Arkansas Department of Health is alerting parents that Arkansas children will be required to receive a Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap or whooping cough) vaccine before entry into seventh grade per state regulations.
Arkansas continues to see a high number of Pertussis cases around the state; therefore, the two-year minimum interval allowed within the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Immunization Requirements is being followed.
If a student has already received a Tdap vaccine or has received a Tetanus vaccine within the last two years, the Tdap vaccination will not be required at this time. The parent/guardian will need to furnish the school nurse documentation to prove that the student received a Tdap previously or a Tetanus shot in the past two years.
Many school districts are working with their local county health units to provide the Tdap vaccine at the school before the end of this school year. Check with your school to see if this is an option for you, or you may take your child directly to your local health unit or your private health care provider for the vaccine.
If the parent does not want the student to receive a Tdap vaccination, then the parent must request an exemption from the immunization requirement before the start of the 2010-2011 school year. Exemption forms may be requested from the Immunization Section of the Arkansas Department of Health at 501-661-2169 or via E-mail at email@example.com .