HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Parents in Mississippi have a week or more to get incoming seventh graders a mandatory shot.
According to District VIII Health Officer, Thomas Dobbs, this shot not only prevents three serious illnesses, but without it children can't attend school.
"The short name is the T-DAP, or the Tetanus Diphtheria Pertussis Vaccine," said Dobbs.
This vaccine protects against those three diseases, and according to Dobbs, it's a state-wide mandate soon to be seventh graders need.
"We know that the immunity, particularly to Pertussis, wanes from the childhood shots around this age, and that children are at higher risk. To protect kids from Pertussis, and also to make sure we can kinda keep Pertussis from spreading through out the community, it's important for entering seventh grader to get this shot. 41 other states already require it for seventh grade entry," said Dobbs.
Dobbs says the state health department is primarily concerned with Pertussis, than Tetanus and Diphtheria.
"It causes severe whooping cough, with severe difficulty breathing," said Dobbs.
Here in the magnolia state there have been 37 cases, but the numbers are growing else where.
"Minnesota has had several thousand, and then last year California state had a huge outbreak with many infant deaths. So, it is still out there and it is a risk to young children," said Dobbs.
Dobb says parents can't just claim their seventh grader has received the Tetanus Diphtheria Pertussis shot.
"They will need to have evidence of having this injection before they can go to seventh grade," said Dobbs.
Meaning no shot, no enrollment. But Dobb says the minimal cost and abundant locations to receive the shot should help parents out.
"These shots are available at all county health departments, and also they are available at private physician offices, and clinics, and community health centers. Some pharmacies are offering the injections as well," said Dobbs.
Dobb says parents should check at Walgreens and CVS for the shot, and health departments are also offering the HPV vaccine and the Meningococcal Vaccine, which protects against bacterial meningitis.