Tag Archives: whooping cough

Prepare Your Child Before School Starts: New Changes in Vaccination Recommendations for the 2019-2020 School Year

The new school year is around the corner. Now is the time to schedule your child’s annual checkup with their primary care provider. Make sure your child is up-to-date with all recommended vaccinations.

We encourage you to speak with your child’s doctor about all recommended age-appropriate vaccines.  South Carolina students in grades 5K to 12 in both public and private schools must be up-to-date on the following shots based on their grade level:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Polio
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • DTaP (tetanus, whooping cough)
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Tdap (whooping cough booster required before 7th grade)

“Unfortunately, vaccine-preventable diseases, such as chicken pox, whooping cough, mumps and measles still affect many children in South Carolina,” said Dr. Teresa Foo, DHEC Immunization Division medical consultant. “Up-to-date vaccinations are the best protection for our children against these diseases.”

You can also get your child’s vaccines at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) health departments. Call 855.472.3432 to schedule an appointment. For more information about school-related vaccinations, visit:  https://scdhec.gov/health/vaccinations/childcare-school-vaccine-requirements.

Vaccines Can Protect You and Your Baby from Whooping Cough

By Teresa Foo, MD, MPH
Medical Consultant
Divisions of Immunization and Acute Disease Epidemiology

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a very contagious disease that can cause serious illness and death, especially in newborns and young infants who are not fully vaccinated. Whooping cough is often thought of as a disease of the past.  While we no longer see the number of cases we did in the United States before whooping cough vaccines were available, it is a growing health concern.

Whooping cough can be serious for anyone, but it is life-threatening in newborns and young babies.  Up to 20 babies die each year in the United States due to whooping cough.  About half of babies younger than 1 year old who get whooping cough need treatment in the hospital.  The younger the baby is when he gets whooping cough, the more likely he will need to be treated in a hospital. It is important to know that many babies with whooping cough don’t cough at all. Instead it can cause them to stop breathing and turn blue.

Whooping cough vaccines are the safest and most effective way to prevent this disease. The whooping cough vaccine for children (2 months through 6 years) is called DTaP.  The vaccine that provides protection for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. Both of these vaccines provide protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).

There are three ways you can protect your baby from whooping cough.

First, pregnant women should get the Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy, preferably between the 27th and 36th week.  This allows the mother to give her newborn the greatest number of protective antibodies and the best possible protection against whooping cough.

Second, make sure everyone who is around your baby is up to date with their whooping cough vaccines.  When a baby’s family members and caregivers get a whooping cough vaccine, they help protect their own health while forming a protective circle of immunity around the baby.  Many babies who get whooping cough catch it from siblings, parents or other caregivers who might not even know they have the disease.

Third, make sure your baby gets his or her vaccines on time.  Your baby will need several doses of DTaP vaccine for the best protection.  The first dose is recommended at age 2 months.  Your baby will need two more doses after that, given at 4 months and 6 months, to build up high levels of protection, and then booster shots at 15 through 18 months and at 4 through 6 years to maintain that protection.

Talk to your doctor about what vaccines you or your baby need.  For more information on protecting your baby from whooping cough, go to  www.cdc.gov/pertussis/pregnant/mom/index.html



Helping students and parents prepare for the next school year

By Cassandra Harris

The most effective way to prevent tetanusdiphtheria, and pertussis (often called whooping cough) is through vaccination with DTaP for infants and children and with the Tdap booster for preteens, teens, and adults. Starting in 2013, South Carolina 7th graders faced a new school entry requirement – showing proof of a Tdap booster vaccine 

Helping to ensure that all rising 7th graders are healthy and ready for school this coming fall, our central and regional public health teams are currently offering Tdap clinics in schools across the state.  Expanding on the success of last year’s School Located Vaccination Clinics, our clinics not only make it easier for children to access the vaccine, they also make it more convenient for parents who would normally have to take time off from work to get their child vaccinated.

As part of our ongoing efforts to prepare students and their parents for the new school year, our Lowcountry team has been working collaboratively with local schools– vaccinating over 400 6th graders in just 5 days earlier this month.  Speaking to his team’s success, DHEC Public Health Director for the Lowcountry Public Health Region Nicholas Davidson said, “We are building new partnerships with both public and private schools to expand School Located Vaccination Clinics to all counties within the regions.  There has been positive feedback from several school nurses, that ‘because of DHEC’s Tdap School Located Vaccination efforts, the parents are sending back proof of the Tdap vaccination earlier this year.’ We are excited that the Lowcountry’s efforts, to educate about the Tdap 7th grade vaccination requirement, are increasing of the number children vaccinated.”

For more information about our Tdap vaccination clinics, click here.

Tdap and pregnancy

By Stephen Hudson

btn-conditions-pregnant-300x250August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and this week concentrates on “A Healthy Start” for moms and babies.

One way to give your child a “Healthy Start” is for expecting mothers to get a Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis) booster shot, which protects mom and baby from pertussis known as “Whooping cough.” The CDC recommends mothers get their Tdap vaccination in the third trimester between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy.

Pertussis is extremely dangerous for infants, yet is entirely preventable. Mom can also get some help in protecting her child from pertussis by “Cocooning” and ensuring each parent, grandparents, siblings, or anyone else around the baby is also up to date on their Tdap vaccine.

So this month, we encourage pregnant women and their families to talk with their healthcare providers about getting a Tdap booster vaccine, or visit http://www.cdc.gov/features/tdap-in-pregnancy/?s_cid=cdc_homepage_whatsnew_004