By Sonya Colberg
Oklahoma students entering seventh grade will be required to get a new booster vaccination next school year.
The vaccine for whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria will be required for about 50,000 students. This is the first new vaccination requirement for students in more than a decade.
“It’s to protect our schoolchildren, our communities from pertussis — or whooping cough — especially,” said Don Blose, the Oklahoma Department of Health’s immunization services director.
The last new vaccine requirements for students were for hepatitis B and hepatitis A, which were gradually rolled out for different age groups beginning in school years 1997-98 and 1998-99, respectively.
Blose said the Health Department is beginning to work with some of the 900 clinics, doctors and hospitals that participate in the state’s school vaccination program.