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Back-to-school vaccinations: Are your kids up to date?

August 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Outbreaks are rare, but they still happen. In 2010, more than 9,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in California. With the first day of school just around the corner, doctors say it's time to make sure your kids are up to date with their shots.

"There's going to be a handful of parents who are going to show up to school with their kids and they don't have their booster," said Dr. Robert Riewerts, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center and regional chief of Pediatrics, Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

Under a new state law, students entering seventh grade are required to get a Tdap booster shot for protection against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). Pertussis is an epidemic in California; it's highly contagious and can be deadly. Students who can't show proof of the Tdap vaccination will not be allowed in school.

Parents will also have to start thinking about the HPV vaccine. It's a three-shot series recommended for 10-year-old boys and girls. It protects against the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus linked to 70 percent of cervical cancers. But the latest numbers show the vaccination rate to be at about 54 percent for girls.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says if coverage could be increased to 80 percent, about 53,000 cervical cancer cases could be prevented.

"You're really preparing someone for the future on the HPV vaccine, and it is a disease that can cause cancer," said Riewerts.

Another immunization Riewerts says parents should be aware of is meningococcal vaccine to prevent severe meningitis.

"It's definitely required for teenagers who are going off to school, in my opinion. You get one at age 11 and a booster at age 16," said Riewerts.

Under the California School Immunization Law, children are required to receive certain immunizations to attend public or private elementary and secondary schools, as well as child care or developmental centers.

Several cities within the Los Angeles Unified School District will be offering Tdap shots through next week. District clinics are scheduled:

  • Aug. 1-2 and Aug. 5-9, at the Zelzah Clinic, North Area Nursing Office, 6505 Zelzah Ave., Reseda, from 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 1-2 and Aug. 5-9, at Telfair PTA Clinic, 10911 Telfair Ave., Pacoima, from 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 1-2 and Aug. 5-8, at Columbus Clinic, 22250 Elkwood St., Canoga Park, from 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 5-9, at Murchison Clinic, 1501 Murchison St., Los Angeles, from 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 6 and Aug. 8, at Central PTA Clinic, 1000 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, from 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug 5-9, at Holmes Clinic, 5108 Holmes Ave., Los Angeles, from 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 1-2 and Aug. 5-9, at Roosevelt High School, 456 S. Matthews St., Los Angeles, from 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 2, Aug.5, Aug. 7 and Aug. 9, at San Miguel Health Clinic, 9801 San Miguel Ave., South Gate, from 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 5-9, at Plasencia Elementary School, (Student Guidance Assessment Center) 1321 Cortez St., Los Angeles from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Aug. 1-2 and Aug. 5-9, at Edison Middle School, 6500 Hooper St., Los Angeles from 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

*ALL CLINICS ARE CLOSED FROM NOON - 1 P.M.
**Immunizations will be available ONLY to eligible children. Eligible children include those who receive Medi-Cal, who are of Native American/Alaskan descent and who have no insurance.

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