Iowa to require Tdap vaccine for seventh graders

Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, seventh graders in Iowa will be required by the state's Department of Public Health Bureau of Immunization to receive the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or Tdap, vaccine.

The new regulation, according to Page County Public Health Administrator Kimm Livengood, comes as a result of an increase in pertussis cases last year, KMALand.com reports.

Livengood said that the state recorded a huge increase in pertussis numbers in 2012, necessitating the need for the new vaccine requirement. Most of the recorded outbreaks were in kids between 10 years of age and 14.

Children born on or after September 15, 2000, or those entering seventh grade, will be required to receive the vaccine this year. Next year, all seventh and eighth grade students will be required to show proof of the vaccine, with the requirements expanding each year thereafter, according to KMALand.com.

In a recent study, children with pertussis were found to have an 89 percent lower chance of having received all five DTaP doses compared to children who received all the doses, Science Daily reports.

Whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis, can affect all ages. The disease most often causes severe complications and death in young infants because babies cannot receive complete vaccination until the age of four months old.