New immunization requirements

July 18, 2013

Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, all students entering, advancing, or transferring into 11th and 12th grades will be required to show proof that they have received one dose of Tdap vaccine (combined tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) vaccine--regardless of the interval since the last DTaP, DT, or Td dose. Students will not be able to start school without proof of this immunization.

This requirement is important because pertussis (whooping cough) disease continues to occur throughout many Illinois communities. Vaccination of children and adolescents reduces illness and absenteeism among school students. In addition, pertussis infections in infants can be fatal, and reducing the spread of pertussis through vaccination of community members helps to protect infants, especially those who are too young to be fully vaccinated.

Most students likely have already received the vaccine and simply need to provide the school with verifying documentation from the family health care provider. Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Note or letter signed by health care provider and identifying the vaccine (Tdap) and date (month, day, and year) administered.
  • Printout from provider’s electronic medical record system that identifies Tdap vaccination(s) and date administered.
  • Current Certificate of Child Health Examination, specifying Tdap and date (month, day, and year) administered.

In addition to health care providers, many local health departments and pharmacies offer the vaccine. The Illinois Department of Public Health recommends that parents get their adolescents immunized now to avoid a last-minute rush. Students without adequate proof of vaccination will be subject to exclusion as described in the School Code of Illinois.