Guilford County to hold Tdap clinics for rising sixth graders

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Guilford County Department of Public Health would like to remind parents who have a child entering the sixth grade this fall that there is one vaccination required by law for school attendance.  The vaccination is Tdap and stands for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.  According to North Carolina law, children who are entering the 6th grade in public school on or after August 1, 2008 or who are 12 years of age on or after August 1, 2008, and entering non-public school, must have a Tdap booster shot if five or more years have passed since their last dose of this vaccine.

Special Tdap only clinics are scheduled for Saturday, August 24, 2013 and Saturday, September 14, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at both Greensboro and High Point locations.  For an appointment at either location, call 641-3245. Spanish speakers who wish to secure an appointment at the High Point location should call 641-4591. Ask about cost when you call.  Fees may apply, so bring your child’s insurance card (including Medicaid) and your child’s shot record.  The Tdap vaccination is also available at other times during the regular business day and at your child’s health care provider’s office.

Tdap vaccine can protect adolescents and adults against three serious diseases.  Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are all caused by bacteria.  Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds. Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to “locking” of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in up to two cases out of ten. Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat. It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death.  Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, causes severe coughing spells, vomiting and disturbed sleep. It can lead to weight loss, incontinence, rib fractures and passing out from violent coughing, pneumonia and hospitalization due to complications.

For more information about Tdap or any other childhood immunization, contact Guilford County Department of Public Health at (336) 641-7777.