Calif. considers mandatory whooping cough vaccinations

The whooping cough epidemic in California - the worst in 50 years - has given credence to a proposed bill for mandatory whooping cough booster shots.

The bill, which was initially introduced in February by Fresno Assemblyman Juan Arambula, called for adding whooping cough to the state’s list of mandatory injections for adolescent children, reports.

Arambula’s legislative director in San Diego, Joseph Devlin, told that vaccines in adolescents are crucial.

“Research shows that adolescents between ages 11 and 18 years are active vectors that carry the disease to their families and infant siblings, who are most vulnerable when exposed to this disease,” Devlin told “At present, the CDPH recommends all adolescents in this age group to get a booster shot for whooping cough. But no one is strictly enforcing this recommendation. Only 40 to 50 percent of adolescents get the booster shot now. That is why it is important to make it part of the mandatory vaccination list for adolescents.”

Arambula proposed a similar bill two years ago, but it was rejected due to the costs involved, reports.

“The added cost of vaccinating students before they get into seventh grade is estimated to be $400,000 per annum," Devlin said, reports. "But the State of California does not have to pay because funding will come from the federal Vaccines for Children Program and private insurance."

As of June 15, 910 cases of whooping cough have been confirmed in California and five deaths due to the disease have been reported.