Town Square

Students need whooping cough shots before school starts

Original post made on Jul 26, 2011

About a third of Mountain View elementary students still need to get whooping cough booster shots before school starts, and high school students could be turned away from class if they haven't been immunized by the time school starts. Under a new law, seventh- through 12th-grade students at Mountain View schools, along with the rest of California, must prove that they have received a pertussis booster shot or have a waiver excusing them.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 26, 2011, 1:25 PM


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Posted by Brandon
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm

You cannot force a parent to give their child a vaccine. If you actually read the bill it clearly supports that.

foot not # 2 shows "Exemptions permitted for verified medical conditions or personal beliefs."

Directly from their own website.
State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health
Director Governor
Assembly Bill 354 Becomes Law
2011 Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Immunization Requirements for Students
September 30, 2010 (Updated December 9, 2010)
Whooping cough (pertussis) has been widespread in California during 2010. The
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends that all Californians 10
years and older receive a booster shot against pertussis (also known as “Tdap”1).
Moreover, Assembly Bill 354, now chaptered into California law, requires students to be
immunized against pertussis2:
For the 2011-12 school year only, all students entering 7th through 12th grades will
need proof of a Tdap booster shot before starting school. This requirement:
• Begins July 1, 2011.
• Can be met by the CDPH recommendation to receive one dose of Tdap vaccine
on or after the 10th birthday3.
• Applies to all public and private schools.
• Does not affect students enrolled in summer school.
Beginning July 1, 2012, and beyond, all students entering the 7th grade will need
proof of a Tdap booster shot before starting school.
Starting now, please use your school websites, newsletters, report card messages, and
other communications to send the following information:
Pertussis is widespread. If your child 10 years and older has not yet received the ‘Tdap’
pertussis booster shot, please contact your doctor or health department. Getting a
booster shot now will protect your child against the ongoing threat of pertussis and meet
a new school requirement that begins in the 2011-12 school year (California law -
Assembly Bill 354). Adults are also advised to get a pertussis booster shot, if they
haven’t already, to protect themselves, their families, and their students.
Updates on implementing this new law will be posted later in the 2010-2011 school year
at, which currently has general information about pertussis
disease and immunization.
1 “Tdap” = Tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine.
2 Exemptions permitted for verified medical conditions or personal beliefs.
3 If a student has received a dose of Tdap on or after the 7th birthday, the student will meet the school
immunization requirement

Web Link

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Posted by Nick V
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Jul 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Nick V is a registered user.

Hi Brandon. I am aware. I was aware when I wrote the story. I included information on the exemption in the third-to-last paragraph:

"For those who do not wish their child to receive the booster, the law allows parents to decline the vaccine either for religious reasons or because of personal beliefs. Fenstersheib said he doesn't recommend skipping the shot."

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Posted by Thomas
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I'm right next door in Palo Alto, and hope this gets more national attention, and helps develop better national standards. For all the people who point out that the government "cannot force a parent to give their child a vaccine"... they are absolutely correct.

But as a parent who doesn't want their kids threatened by others' personal beliefs against immunization and preventable illnesses, I'd be in complete support of a national standard, whereby any child who is not immunized for the most common, threatening diseases simply cannot attend public school.

Everyone is free to do what they want for their own kids - but not mine. We have enough trouble just fighting all the colds and flu viruses they bring home every week.

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Posted by NonSensical
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2011 at 5:11 pm


The current policy makes no sense as it bans from school some non-immunized children while letting others in. Imagine if we had the same standard for smoking for instance?

That whole concept of vaccination opt-out is actually very bizarre to me.

I grew up in France where there is no opt-out; every single kid gets vaccinated for free right at school and without complaints from anyone.
Of course, it probably helps that each town in France has at least one street and one school named after Louis Pasteur :)

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Posted by Jeff C.
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2011 at 6:57 pm

In 2010, California had 10 infant deaths from pertussis out of over half a million births. There were no deaths to children over one, teens, or adults. California has 10 million residents under 18. Ten deaths in ten million minors, the math isn't hard, it's one in a million. So why does every teen need to get this shot? Short answer, they don't.

The Tdap vaccine has a high rate of serious adverse reactions. In clinical trials, the rate of temperature over 103 degrees was 1:500. Many other serious adverse reactions were reported at high rates. Check for yourself, here is the package insert that your doctor gets:

Web Link

Every parent is entitled to take the personal beliefs exemption. Simply sign the boxed area on the back of the form linked below and your child is in school unconditionally. If the school denies admission, they are in violation of state law and the administrators can be held accountable.

Web Link

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm

May not kill you, but here's why it's a good thing to try and prevent (from wikipedia):
"Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease caused by Bordetella pertussis. Symptoms are initially mild, and then develop into severe coughing fits, which produce the namesake high-pitched "whoop" sound in infected babies and children when they inhale air after coughing.[1] The coughing stage lasts for approximately six weeks before subsiding. In some countries, this disease is called the 100 days' cough or cough of 100 days.[2]...The classic symptoms of pertussis are a paroxysmal cough, inspiratory whoop, and vomiting after coughing.[5] The cough from pertussis has been documented to cause subconjunctival hemorrhages, rib fractures, urinary incontinence, hernias, post-cough fainting, and vertebral artery dissection.[5]"

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Here's more from the same article:
"Common complications of the disease include pneumonia, encephalopathy, earache, or seizures.

Most healthy older children and adults will have a full recovery from pertussis, however those with comorbid conditions can have a higher risk of morbidity and mortality.

Infection in newborns is particularly severe. Pertussis is fatal in an estimated one in 100 infants under two months, and fatal in one in 200 infants aged two to 12 months. Infants under one are also more likely to develop complications (e.g., pneumonia (20%), encephalopathy, seizures (1%), failure to thrive, and death (0.2%)). Pertussis can cause severe paroxysm-induced cerebral hypoxia and apnea. Reported fatalities from pertussis in infants have increased substantially over the past 20 years.[15]"

The mortality rate is low in this country BECAUSE we vaccinate. If we did not, mortality rates would go way up.

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Posted by Jeff C.
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm

"The mortality rate is low in this country BECAUSE we vaccinate. If we did not, mortality rates would go way up"

Just saying something doesn't make it true. Notice how the ten infant deaths were weighted toward the beginning of the outbreak? That is because doctors weren't looking for it and didn't treat it appropriately. Once doctors and hospitals were aware of the situation, the death rate dropped dramatically as the proper care was given.

Nobody is saying pertussis is a walk in the park, it's a nasty disease. However, when treated appropriately, deaths and complications are rare.

All of your statistics are regarding infants, yet this article discusses mandates for teenagers. The stats are for infants because lasting consequences for those over one year of age almost never happen. Bottom line, teenagers are being forced to get the shot in the name of "herd immunity" (google it) to protect infants. Yet no one says that, they pretend teenagers are at serious risk. They are not, it's a lie. Parents are being manipulated.

Again, all parents are entitled to exercise the personal beliefs exemption. Simply sign on the back of the form at the link below and submit it when registering for school.

Web Link

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Posted by Jeff C.
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm

BTW, herd immunity might be a worthwhile goal if the vaccine were safe and effective. However, the Tdap vaccine has a high adverse reaction rate and also a high failure rate. Nearly a quarter of the time the vaccine fails. This is not a copy and paste from Wikipedia, but the actual package insert supplied by the vaccine manufacturer. A couple of quotes about the vaccine from the package insert:

Web Link

"The mechanism of protection from B pertussis disease is not well understood."

"The protective efficacy against mild pertussis (defined as at least one day of cough with laboratory-confirmed B pertussis infection) was 77.9%" (In other words, it fails 21% of the time)

"Before administration of Adacel vaccine, the patient’s current health status and medical history should be reviewed in order to determine whether any contraindications exist and to assess the benefits and risks of vaccination." (How many pharmacists or school nurses actually do this?)

"Epinephrine Hydrochloride Solution (1:1,000) and other appropriate agents and equipment should be available for immediate use in case an anaphylactic or acute hypersensitivity reaction occurs."

"Before administration of Adacel vaccine, health-care providers should inform the vaccine recipient and/or parent or guardian of the benefits and risks." (Again, does this ever happen?)

"It is also not known whether Adacel vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Adacel vaccine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed." (The CA Dept of Public Health says all pregnant women should get the shot)

"Throughout the 6-month follow-up period in the principal safety study, serious adverse events were reported in 1.5% of Adacel vaccine recipients and 1.4% in Td vaccine recipients. Two serious adverse events in adults were neuropathic events that occurred within 28 days of Adacel vaccine administration; one severe migraine with unilateral facial paralysis and one diagnosis of nerve compression in neck and left arm."

Please do your own research before allowing your teen to get this shot. All parents are entitled to exercise the personal beliefs exemption if they so choose.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm

@Jeff - There are risks with every vaccination and medication, I grant you. Aspirin, ibuprofen, penicillin, you name it, it can always kill someone. I know what herd immunity is, I actually didn't need to google it, thanks though.

Here's a link to the Mayo Clinic's site on Whooping Cough. (A tad more reliable than Wikipedia).

Web Link

And yes, mortality from the disease is primarily a risk to infants, but older kids, teens and adults can still be pretty stinking sick with it. And even those who have been vaccinated can get it -- the effectiveness wears off over time, which is why the booster is important. Teens missing a couple of weeks of school because of it, and spreading it around to other unvaccinated teens, sounds like a nightmare to me. Hard enough to get through high school without being out sick for weeks or feeling so weak from a preventable disease that you can't keep up with the work. A woman I work with caught it a few months back, she was pretty sick. Did NOT sound like fun. Did she die? No. Did she have permanent damage? No. Was she out of work for a couple of week and feeling really lousy? Yes.

Yes, parents do have the right to opt out. And as more parents opt out of vaccinating their infants, more and more cases of it will appear.

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Posted by Jeff C.
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2011 at 7:21 am


I appreciate your willingness to discuss this, and I agree that pertussis is no fun. My objection is to the mandate that every teenager get this shot when the mortality rate is very low (1:1 million), the vaccine has a high failure rate (22% of the time), and also a high serious adverse reaction rate (1.5% of the time!).

Check out this graph using vital statistics from the US and UK from 1901 on. It clearly shows that pertussis deaths had plummeted long before widespread introduction of the vaccine in the late 1940's. The death rate had dropped over 95% in the UK and 90% in the US before the vaccine.

Web Link

This was due to improved sanitation and a better understanding of how the disease was spread and how to treat it. The vaccine did not save us, it just sped up the decline a little bit at the tail end of a long decline. Please check out the graph, the makers of the vaccine and those pushing it are lying.

Do you know that the vaccine manufacturers are indemnified from any liability by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986? Once a vaccine makes it on the CDC schedule, the manufacturer has ZERO liability. Couple that with mandates at the state level; it's the ultimate crony capitalists dream. People are forced by law to buy your product, and they can't boycott or sue you if it injures them. Think about that.

One last thought; If it's so important for teenagers to get this shot to protect public health, why hasn't the state mandated it for adults? I have not had a pertussis shot since I was five years old. That was over 40 years ago, the immunity has long since worn off. I'm a regular typhoid Mary according to these people, but no mandate for me or you. We don't have a mandate because we can vote. Adults would not put up with it and the legislature knows it. So instead, they foist this on kids who have no voice in the system. Have you gotten the shot?