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Hi, I’m Tom Torlakson. As many of you know, I've been California's State Superintendent of Public Instruction since January 2011.
Nothing is more important than our children’s health.
California has recently experienced an increase in the number of children contracting whooping cough, also known as pertussis.
Whooping cough is a serious illness – and highly contagious in a school setting.
There were 8,300 cases reported in California last year, the most since 1947. The disease can be debilitating at any age and lethal to infants.
That’s why California has a new law requiring a whooping cough booster. This booster is also known as Tdap.
This new law will help protect nearly three million California students.
It requires all incoming 7th through 12th graders to be vaccinated before entering school for fall 2011.
That means students entering 7th through 12th grades cannot start school if they do not have documentation of the booster.
We need your help to ensure that schools start getting prepared now.
Parents need to be informed that their children should be vaccinated during this spring and early summer months.
Doing this now will go a long way to avoiding confusion, frustration, and missed school days this fall.
I also encourage you and your staff to familiarize yourselves with this issue on-line at www.shotsforschool.org.
It has a wealth of information – including a free webinar for school nurses and clerks.
The time to act is now – to protect our students’ health – and to make sure we implement this new law to start the school year as smoothly as possible for all students.
Thank you for your help.