New whooping cough requirements in California

FRESNO, Calif.

Parents are urged not to wait until the last minute to get their child vaccinated.

You would typically see a five-year-old getting a pertussis shot before the start of a new school year, but 14-year-old Jesus Martinez is getting the, tdap booster now that a new California law requires all students 7th thru 12th grade to be vaccinated against whooping cough.

Jesus Martinez said, "It's better to prevent it now than later when it's worse."

School districts all over the Valley are notifying parents by mail, newsletter, phone calls, even warnings.

Diane Tourna, Director of Health Services at Fresno Unified says 35 thousand FUSD students need to be vaccinated -- but a low number of students currently have the booster shot. "It's because it's a new requirement they need to be notified."

David Luchini said, "There is always that percentage that will wait until August."

David Luchini, with the Fresno County Health Department says last year there were 10 deaths throughout the state. The push to vaccinate older children is to protect those with the highest health risks -- infants and the elderly.

Luchini said, "We saw a lot of teenagers who were ill with whooping cough. They go home to siblings young infants even death."

Before the first day of school in the fall -- parents must provide a waiver or proof of an updated booster shot, or their child won't be able to attend.

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